Over 15 million Americans now suffer from anxiety and depression, and many have turned to pharmaceutical solutions. Did you know that a much more effective path to wellness, including mental health, is actually found through food?
The problem is that we are surrounded by highly processed high-sugar foods that are destroying our well-being and happiness. The enteric nervous system, which is the cellular lining covering our digestive tract, continually sends signals to our brain. For decades now, we have assumed that anxiety and depression contributed to digestive disorders, such as IBS and Crohn’s disease, but scientists are now discovering that it may actually be the other way around. In other words, the standard American diet, which is creating an epidemic of poor digestion, may actually also be CAUSING your depression. So, what can you do? Here are 5 ways to eat away your depression!
1. Avoid Processed Foods
The farther your food gets from its natural state, the more likely it is to damage your gut. Stay away from eating these foods and take them off your grocery list:
- Gluten & Other Grains
- Refined sugars
2. Eat Organic and Non-GMO Foods
Thanks to its growing popularity, this is not as expensive as you might think! Awareness of glyphosate and other herbicides and dangerous chemical sprays and the effect of these sprays on gut health has led people to search for the 100 percent organic, non-GMO labels on their purchases. This is a fabulous idea! By choosing foods with these labels, you not only get the healthiest and best-tasting foods, but you also support the long-term health of our species and the planet!
3. Eat to Restore Your Gut!
When the healthy state of your gut microbiome is compromised, tiny particles from the food you eat pass through your gut lining and into your bloodstream, leading to inflammation as well as immune and mental health issues. Supplementation with probiotics and the fiber that feeds probiotics can be extremely effective in treating anxiety and depression through restoration of your gut’s beneficial bacteria. It is also an excellent idea to add 2-4 teaspoons of fermented vegetables or a tablespoon of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar to your daily intake.
4. Eat Plenty of Healthy Fats
Since the human brain is more than 60% fat, it is critical to consume adequate amounts of healthy fats for optimal mental health. Moreover, these foods have blood-sugar stabilizing effects and lead to optimal metabolism rather than weight gain! So, be sure to include lots of the following foods as part of your daily diet:
- Nuts and seeds
- Olive oil
- Oily fish, such as wild-caught salmon
5. Eat to Maximize Nutrient Absorption
If you are extremely busy and eating on the run, then you are probably eating in the fight-or-flight mode, which means your digestive system is not engaged. You will increase nutrient absorption by taking these simple actions:
- Adopt an attitude of gratitude for the food on your plate;
- Slow down during meals and make a point of chewing several times before you swallow;
- Occasionally put down your fork and take a deep breath; and
- Appreciate your surroundings as well as the colors, textures, and flavors of your food.