There was an interesting article in Life Extension recently talking about how the Standard American Diet is linked to increased risk of depression and other health issues. Hmmm, could that be why it’s called SAD?
Something as simple as the food choices we make several times a day can provide the necessary nutrients we need to contribute to better health and mood. So what foods do the opposite? Studies prove that eating a diet loaded with processed sugar and grains, white table salt and bad fats are linked to increased risk of depression, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. No big surprise there.
How can you avoid those traps and eat in a way that improves your health and your mental/emotional state? According to this article, it’s just what I’ve been recommending to my clients – getting back to basics:
Eating fresh, unprocessed, whole foods – clean protein, vegetables, fresh fruits and whole grains in moderation. It’s the difference between:
Frosted Flakes and scrambled eggs for breakfast;
a bologna sandwich on white bread and a chicken burger on a grilled Portobello mushroom cap for lunch; and
fast food fried chicken and mashed potatoes and a piece of roasted chicken and a salad loaded with fresh veggies for dinner.
It’s not difficult, complicated, boring or tasteless! It may take changing your normal pattern of eating and shopping for different items, but if you want to reduce your risk of depression, heart disease, diabetes, it’s a no-brainer!
Keep in mind you need balance in all areas of life – including your diet. So that’s why I mention fruits and healthy, whole grains and starchy veggies in moderation. Too much, of anything, can cause problems, but I don’t suggest totally eliminating any food group. I recommend eating beans and legumes. Potatoes, for example, are not on my hit list! A baked potato is a great accompaniment to a burger (with no bun) IF you don’t load it up with sour cream and butter! Eating a starchy vegetable or whole grain with your protein helps convert the amino acid tryptophan in the protein to serotonin, the feel good brain chemical.
Using food as fuel to nourish our bodies and choosing the highest quality, fresh, whole foods and combining them in a balanced way is the simplest way to ensure good health – physically, mentally and emotionally.
Are you intentionally using your food as high octane fuel for your body? Do you notice a difference in your mental/emotional state when you do?