by Emma Thake

Eat Your Way to Happiness!

Washing down a bacon cheeseburger with a chocolate milkshake can be fun sometimes, don’t get us wrong. But what happens when you feed your body unhealthy things all the time? It responds, and we’re not just talking about a little weight gain here or there (some people are immune to that with their hollow thighs and what not!). Something that no one is immune to is the effect that fast food can have on your emotions. Seems a little far fetched? Hear us out!

Eating foods high in trans-fats and increases the risk of depression, according to Almudena Sanchez-Villegas, associate professor of preventive medicine at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, confirming previous studies that linked “junk food” with the disease.

When the study began, none of the participants had been diagnosed with depression; by the end, 657 of them were new sufferers.”Participants with an elevated consumption of trans-fats (fats present in artificial form in industrially-produced pastries and fast food) presented up to a 48 percent increase in the risk of depression when they were compared to participants who did not consume these fats,” the study author said.

Eating well not only brings a balance to your body, but there are also specific foods to work in to your diet to create a improved feeling of happiness!

It may be as well to avoid trans-fats but not all fat is off the table. Healthy fats can help to enhance mood and some of the best kinds of fats for mood are omega-3 fatty acids. You can find these in fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel and also in flaxseeds and walnuts. At YinOva we often prescribe an Omega-3 fatty acid supplement to patients who are suffering from depression.

Feeling depressed can make you sluggish and then it’s tempting to reach for a coffee to perk yourself up. However coffee is a stimulant and when it wears off it can cause your mood to drop. At YinOva we suggest replacing it with green tea which contains L-theanine, an amino acid that helps your body deal with stress.

In Chinese medicine leafy green vegetables have been used to fight depression for hundreds of years. They are said to move stagnation and help prevent that stuck, pent up feeling that goes along with feeling depressed and irritable. Modern science confirms this because leafy green vegetables are full of mood-enhancing folate.  Folate is a B-complex vitamin that your body needs to synthesize neurotransmitters, the brain chemicals that control most of your body’s functions, including mood and emotions.  So if you’re feeling down it you may feel like reaching for some french fries but it may help you more to steam some kale, chard, spinach, mustard greens, dandelion greens or cabbage.

Dehydration is often overlooked as a cause of depression, but our body is made up predominantly of water and when we don’t get enough we can feel sluggish, irritable and downright grumpy. Many of drinks we reach for when we’re stressed, from coffee to alcohol, add to the dehydration, so make sure to drink a small glass of water every hour throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated.

It’s common to crave sweets when you’re feeling down and the sweet to pick is dark chocolate because it is high in magnesium, a mineral that calms your muscles and reduces anxiety. It also contains tryptophan, which helps reduce symptoms of depression.

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