Depression affects 121 million people worldwide, according to BioMed Central, and a new study new study published in the Public Health Nutrition journal reveals that people who consume more fast food are 51% more likely to develop the mental illness. USANA nutritionist Ravinder Lilly shares nutrition tips to ward off depression.
1. Avoid junk food
An Oxford University study recently revealed that junk food consumption can lead to heightened irritability, aggression and even violent tendencies. Try to avoid fatty, sugary, processed foods and enjoy a well-balanced diet rich in fresh vegetables, fish and whole grains.
2. Cut down on caffeine.
While we often turn to it to boost concentration and alertness, overdoing our caffeine intake can stimulate our central nervous system, resulting in a racing heart and heightened anxiety. Aim to limit your daily caffeine consumption to one coffee per day, or for a smaller dose, opt for green tea instead.
3. Don’t cut out carbohydrates
According to researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, those of us who adopt low-carb diets are often prone to mood swings. They found that by cutting out carbs, you could be stopping the brain from regulating serotonin, the neurotransmitter that promotes feelings of happiness and satisfaction. If you want to curb your carb intake, look to avoid processed carbs, like white bread and starchy pasta, and replace with whole grains such as rye or spelt.
4. Don’t skip breakfast
Time may be of the essence as you make a bolt for the door, but don’t skip the first meal of the day. A combination of protein and carbohydrates will help boost your blood glucose levels and keep you feeling satisfied and energised. On the contrary, skipping this important meal could trigger low energy levels, a bad mood and even weight gain.
5. Skip sugary drinks and high GI foods.
High GI foods and drinks contain tiny sugar molecules which are so small that they get into the bloodstream fast, resulting in a high blood glucose level. Your body desperately tries to keep blood glucose levels to within very narrow limits; too much or too little glucose can damage tiny body cells. The trouble with downing too many high GI items is that the overproduction of insulin also stimulates appetite and this can lead to overeating. And, as you know, being overweight and suffering from obesity are both linked to chronic conditions from heart disease and type 2 diabetes.