“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates
Food as medicine
Research shows that mood disorders have something in common: chronic inflammation. Our understanding of mood and pain disorders has expanded dramatically over the past decade and it is now well known that dietary habits, inflammation and oxidative stress are common underlying factors in mood, pain and other brain based disorders.
Naturopathic medicine is a unique system of healthcare which integrates science with the art of natural medicine; it is focused on supporting the body’s innate ability to heal. Its treatments include lifestyle medicine and clinical nutrition and preaches the mind-body connections by demonstrating how our brains and guts are directly connected. In other words, the foods we eat can improve (or weaken) our mood! The following are a few vitamins and minerals that are effective in warding off moods of anxiety and depression.
B vitamins support a healthy nervous system and are essential to help your brain make the “happy hormones” serotonin and dopamine. Studies show people with depression often have low levels of vitamin B in their spinal fluid and one study found a daily dose relieved moderate symptoms of depression after four weeks.
Incorporating while grains, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetable can help ward off negative mental states, aid people with mental health and metabolic condition
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is found in eggs and fatty fish such as salmon ad mackerel (and cod liver oil), but our body can also make its own vitamin D after exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun, though this is somewhat dependent on the season and your geographic location which is why deficiency of vitamin D is associated with anxiety and depression, especially seasonal affective disorder or the winter blues.
omega-3 fatty acids
Food rich in omega-3 fatty acids help support a healthy nervous system and lower anxiety and depression.
It is well known that omega-3s from fish oil are effective for alleviating depression, and one study looking at substance abusers with low fish consumption found that supplementing with fish oil for three months resulted in less anxiety and anger.
This nutrient can be found in salmon, mackerel, and sardines, chia seeds and flax seeds.
Magnesium has a calming effect, easily digestible and relaxes your bowel. Magnesium is a calming mineral that nourishes the nervous system and helps prevent anxiety, fear, nervousness, restlessness and irritability. Also, magnesium is also very protective of the heart and arteries. Again, this is important if you suffer from anxiety or panic attack
Another very pleasant and easy way to increase intake of magnesium is to add about a cup of Epsom salts to a warm bath. You’ll absorb the magnesium through your skin. Add some lavender essential oil and have a wonderful calming soak before bed, and you’ll sleep better too!
Eat your way to a relaxed mind
It is a given that we will eat and therefore, the easiest method of coping with life inevitable stressors in through the foods we ingest. Anxiety can impact your health in numerous ways, from decreased productivity at work, to weight gain, and more. Luckily, a diet rich in these nutrients can help relieve some of the stress. So if you’re feeling stressed, grab something to eat, as you might be lacking in something.