Happy Friday! And World Health Day! A day that celebrates the health of the global population, and brings light to important wellness topics. This year the focus is on mental health, more specifically the impacts of depression. The World Health Organization is “leading a year-long campaign on depression, one of the leading causes of illness and disability worldwide.” As a huge advocate for mental health awareness, I am thrilled that this is getting some air-time on the global level!
There are all-natural ways that you can keep your mind and body happy, and a healthy diet is key. When you eat well, your body feels well, and it’s easier for your mind to stay healthy and positive as well! Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that keeps the good vibes flowing in your brain, is actually primarily produced in the gut… NOT your brain! If your gut microbiome is out of whack, because of inflammation or irritation, it can severely affect your brain.
So what foods can I eat to keep my gut happy and healthy??
Your gut is also where absorption of all those good nutrients you’re eating happens, and is then transferred into your blood stream, which provides those nutrients to your brain. Think of it this way, your body pumps about 60 liters of blood through your brain every hour, what nutrients do you want your brain exposed to??
//Nutrients You Want//
Omega-3 Fatty Acids – helping to build a healthy brain, omega-3s play a role in development and function; studies around depression are mixed, but these healthy fats are believed to ease the symptoms of depression, and can benefit those with Alzheimer’s and ADHD.
B-Vitamins – studies have shown that deficiency in B-vitmains can be connected with depression, especially vitamin B12, and found that supplementing B12 and B6 to improve moods among those tested.
Vitamin D – another nutrient for development and function; studies have linked this vitamin to depression and other mood disorders.
Selenium – an essential mineral that works as an antioxidant in the body; while studies link low selenium to higher risk for depression, the mechanism behind it is unknown.
Tryptophan – the precursor to serotonin, the mood booster!
//Nutrients to Limit//
*limit does not mean avoid; these nutrients/foods in moderation are fine! Studies just show them to be depression promoters.
10 foods to fight depression
1:// Walnuts – omega-3, vitamin D, selenium; walnuts are shaped a little like brains… so imagine they’d be good for brain health, crazy right!?
2:// Dark leafy greens – B-vitamins, tryptopohan; dark greens like kale and spinach are packed with nutrients and health benefits. look for the darker greens for more pow in nutrient content.
3:// Legumes – B-vitmains; garbanzos, black beans, lentils, peas… you won’t run out of options with this one.
4:// Eggs – B-vitmains including B12, selenium, tryptophan; don’t skimp on the yolks here!
5:// Whole grains – B-vitamins; my favorites are quinoa, brown rice, and oatmeal. the key here is whole grains, the least processed the better!
6:// Avocado – B-vitmains; I mean… are we going to complain that there’s another reason to eat avocados? didn’t think so.
7:// Red meat – B-vitmains including B12; red meat every once in a while can be great for replenishing some of your essential nutrients. if you’re a vegetarian, a B12 supplement may be your best bet (especially for vegans).
8://Berries – B-vitamins; raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries, oh my!
9://Nuts+Seeds – omega-3; chia seeds, hempseeds, flaxseeds, almonds, Brazil nuts. toss them in your morning oatmeal, or add a handful to your snacks. I love using chia seeds or hempseeds in my daily green smoothies too.
10:// Probiotics – yogurt, supplement, drink, you name it! keep your gut happy and balanced with the healthy bacteria.
11://Exercise – endorphins from exercise are proven to improve overall mood, as well as a handful of other health benefits.
12://Sunshine – vitamin D; I believe people run on solar-power. get out in that sunshine and soak it up!
Keep your gut happy to keep your brain health on point! Help fight this global issue in raising awareness about depression, and keeping yourself healthy and happy too!
Happy World Health Day! We deserve to live in a world of total mental, physical, and emotional health. Let’s fight for it today.
To find out more about the World Health Organization’s depression campaign, check out their website at: