The Happiness Diet: 5 Food Habits That Can Reverse Depression and Actually Make You Happier
The number of people on antidepressants is startling.
And when you look at the stats, almost 25% of women and 15% of men in their 40s and 50s are on antidepressants.
Do you know what’s even scarier? Medicating (over-medicating) people for depression is also on the rise – by over 400% (SOURCE🙂
It’s not surprising that there’s a huge movement towards integrative health, and people are trying to find supplements, foods, and lifestyle factors that will naturally heal themselves and make them healthier.
But did you know that there are just a couple things you can add to your diet to see a boost in your mood and happiness?
One study (SOURCE🙂 found that the Mediterranean diet actually lowered the chances of depression. In a 7-year follow up study, people on the Mediterranean diet had a 98.6% lower chance of developing depression than their peers.
Oh, and a similar study found that fast food consumption actually increases your chances of being depressed.
By the way, the Mediterranean diet is essentially fish, veggies, fruits, and some whole grains. In other words, it’s what we think of when we say “ a healthy diet.”
Amino Acids and Protein
Taking amino acid supplements has been found to reduce symptoms of depression and mental disorders.
Know where you find amino acids? Protein!
So rather than supplementing with amino acids, start adding more regular sources of protein to your diet like grass-fed beef, chicken, fatty cold water fish like salmon and mackerel, or eggs and dairy.
Consider this fact: people that are depressed often show poor or inadequate nutrition.
So if you need (another) reason to exercise and starting taking care of your health it’s for this reason: your mood!
Now whether they’re depressed because of their poor nutrition is up for debate – it may realistically just be a combination of lifestyle factors leading to their poor nutrition.
But we know that exercise and healthy overall eating boost your mood dramatically and are linked to more happiness and less depression.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Low levels of two omega 3 fatty acids – DHA and EPA – have also been linked to major depression in modern people.
These are found in cold water fish (like salmon, sardines) or in fish oil supplements, in addition to flax oil and walnuts.
So if you aren’t eating your fish or supplementing with fish oil, that’s a good start!
You can also consider adding flax oil/flax seeds or walnuts to a breakfast smoothie or in your breakfast.
Folate and Magnesium
Vitamin B (Folate) and magnesium deficiencies are often linked to depression (SOURCE: ), and supplementing with these two nutrients has been shown to speed recovery.
Some natural sources of Folate are beans, lentils, and spinach.
Magnesium can be found in bananas, beans, or brown rice.
Okay. So those are some of the core things you can add to your diet, but there’s one last thing I didn’t mention here…
People sometimes say “wait, but ice cream makes me happy, and I crave sugar, so does that mean by body needs it?”
The short answer: ice cream may be fun to eat, but there isn’t much evidence suggesting that this is because of any kind of nutrient deficiency 🙂
In reality, carbohydrates function almost identical to a drug: they give the brain a shot of dopamine (part of the pleasure chemicals in your brain), and work almost like popping a pill.
That’s why emotional eating is often so effective at curbing our emotions temporarily.
It really is (almost) identical to popping a Valium to improve your mood.
For those of you who are on a low carbohydrate diet, and are suffering from depression, you might want to add some carbs back into your diet and see how it alters your daily mood.
Need more reasons to eat healthy?
Lose weight. Have insane energy. Sleep better. Fix health problems like GI issues or even severe acne.
Need another reason to start getting healthy?
Your diet may actually help reverse depression, boost your mood, and make your life a lot easier and happier.
Thoughts on this? Share them below.
|Written on 2/14/2014 by Alexander Heyne. Alexander runs Modern Health Monk , a site that shows you how to reverse health problems caused by 21st century life. Check out his free weight loss crash course, or his free courses on fixing lower back pain and chronic health problems
Photo Credit: elycefeliz