Cooking With Chemicals: (B)eat Your Depression and Anxiety

I have kind of neglected talking about mental health for the past couple weeks. So here are some tools to combat depression and anxiety through diet. Here are five easy and effective ways to drive off depression and quiet anxiety.

1. Turkey: We all know that Turkey puts us to sleep on thanksgiving because of tryptophan, a neurological chemical that is quickly broken down in the brain into Melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep patterns. Those who experience anxiety usually underproduce Melatonin. Having a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread is a great way to turn down the volume on anxiety and maybe catch a well needed nap.

2. Legumes and Nuts: Magnesium is the key for depression in Legumes and Nuts. Magnesium is a key component in the production of seretonin in the brain. A hand full of cashews* when you are feeling down a hungry can help fill you up while giving your brain more ammo to help your mood.

3.Black Tea & Green Tea: L-Thianine is a chemical found in both black and green tea that encourages relaxation and mental calmness. Most black and green teas do however have caffeine so moderation should be practiced in that case.

4. Seafood: Clams, Muscles, and Oysters are all great sources of Selenium which is a know mood booster. As well, high oil fish** have great naturally occurring Omega fatty acids and vitamin D, Two things that are key in fighting depression.

5. Chocolate: In the past few years Chocolate has been touted as a depression buster and a depression trigger.  There have actually be multiple studies that have linked clinically depressed people and chocolate consumption. But it seems that chocolate is double edged sword.  Dark Chocolate is a great source of magnesium, but it also has stimulant chemicals caffeine and theobromine which can cause anxiety, insomnia and heart palpitations. Milk Chocolate contains lactose which can trigger depression in those people with sensitivities, and refined sugar which can lead to a drop off in blood sugar which can trigger depression and anxiety. So like with the tea, moderation is key. A couple chocolate covered almonds can do a great job in regulating your mood.

Depression and anxiety are a balancing act a lot of the time. Sometimes a small push in a good direction is enough to turn a bad day around. There is no food that is going to cure these mental illnesses but knowing what can help in small ways can go along way in the day to day battle against depression and anxiety.

*Cashews are actually not a nut, it’s a bean.

**Wild Salmon, Sable Fish, Cod, etc