Have you ever felt caught up in the cycle of eating because you’re depressed and then you’re depressed because you have eaten too much? Well the problem may be a lot deeper than you think and here I talk from personal experience. As my weight crept on I began to feel more and more depressed and ate to compensate for the way I felt. So basically I was comfort eating but didn’t realise the extent to which my mood was effected as a direct result of eating certain foods.One of my lowest points came when I went to see my GP and she discussed putting me on antidepressants. That’s when I knew I had to do something about my eating habits because I don’t as much even pop an asprin in my mouth! The more I studied nutrition the more I learned the importance of putting the right foods in my mouth. I found that specific foods directly affect brain chemicals and eating patterns affect blood sugar levels, both of which play a role in mood levels. Also mood affects food choices, so vicious cycles can get set up contributing to the depression habit spiral. So what did I learn? Read on…
Eat Yourself Happy!
1. Eat regular meals, especially breakfast
– Stable blood sugar levels help to stabilise mood and prevent cravings.
– Eating regular healthy meals and snacks also boosts the metabolism which
ensures that energy is used effectively.
– The ideal pattern is to eat breakfast, midmorning snack, lunch, late
afternoon snack, dinner and late night snack.
– It might help to complete a few daily meal plans until the habit is
2. Go for tryptophan rich proteins….
– My what a big word when I thought when I initially stumbled across! But
don’t fret let me explain. These are foods that are high in amino acids
which produce serotonin – otherwise known as the feel good chemical. This
helps regulate mood and is found in poultry, oil rich fish such as salmon
and tuna, beans, baked potato, oats, nuts and seeds.
3…..when combined with healthy carbohydrates
– Carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals are needed to help uptake of serotonin
in the brain. So eat healthy (whole food) carbohydrates together with the
– For healthy snacks try a handful of nuts and raisins, peanut butter on
wholemeal bread, or fruit with seeds or yoghurt.
– A healthy complex carb supper or late night snack can be useful to send you
to the land of nod.
4. Eat enough omega-3 and 6 oils
– If you’re low on these goodies then there is a chance you could be
depressed. To boost your intake of these try eating flaxseeds, hemp,
pumpkin seeds, walnuts and oily fish.
5. Avoid crash dieting or over-restrictive eating habits
– Crash dieting sets up its own downward spiral. Self denial and obsessive
dieting can lead to low mood, depression , binge/comfort eating.
– Along with increased exercise the healthy eating patterns described here
could help with weight regulation as well as depression.
So it’s a bit like fuelling your car. If you put petrol in a diesel car it’s hardly going to work is it? But put the right fuel in and you’ll be
rearing to go in mind, body and spirit!