BANANAS, SUN, EXERCISE - my number one tip to friends who are in an emotional rut. Bananas have an amino acid that turns into dopamine, which helps the nervous system activate pleasure and regulate mood. Sunlight helps the brain produce more seratonin, the mood lifter. Exercise give you endorphins; endorphins make you happy. I always have a daily supply of BSE.
I've been doing groceries for my family this past few weeks so it enables me to maintain a happy household. This involves introducing anti-depressant food in our diet (when my brother joins me though, it's snacks galore in our cart).
To explain the science behind my selections, I basically gun for food that stimulate the production of dopamine and seratonin levels. Dopamine is a brain neurotransmitter that is helps the nervous system perform its functions - movement, pleasure, attention and learning, and mood regulation. It provides more energy, motivation and helps maintain a more positive frame of mind.
Here's the basic list of food that make it to my shopping cart, although google can give you more anti-depressant food, whichever suits your preference.
1. Omega-3 Rich Food - treating depression requires 1-3 grams of omega 3 per day, but regular intake will pump up your mood. Fish rich with omega-3 include mackarel, trout, herring, and halibut, but I usually keep stock of sardines, ground flaxseed, and salmon.
2. Complex Carbs - carbohydrates, period, helps make seratonin, the mood lifter. That's why a dig in the ice cream tub or condolence cupcakes are staples in post-break up scenes in movies. But the thing with your simple carbohydrates of sugar, starch and white flour is that it makes your blood sugar rise then fall quickly, so when sugar levels fall, so do your mood - hence, wild mood swings. Wild swings stress the adrenal glands, which leads to fatigue and depression. But complex carbs in whole-grain products, fruits and veggies sustain the seratonin without spiking blood sugar. My top-of-head-auto-in-cart choices are whole-grain bread, dark leafy greens (spinach, broccoli, celery), and everything in the fruit stand. Another good thing with fruits is that it's high in Vit C which wards of nervousness, irritability and depression.
3. Tomatoes - this deserves a special post cause I pop cherry tomatoes in my mouth like candy. Tomato skin is rich in lycopene, a phytonutrient that actually stops the buildup of pro-inflammatory compounds linked to depression. Regular tomato is good, but cherry tomatoes have a smaller surface area so you get to eat more skin vs a full sized one. But eat tomatoes either way cause it's just so yummeh.
4. Dopamine level boosters - these are usually food high in protein, so it's high in amino acids which help regulate dopamine production. You can get it from fish, chicken, turkey and nuts, but my peg is cottage cheese, because it doesn't have the same fat content as other cheeses but contains protein that can boost mood and energy levels. Other boosters are peas, youghurt and beans beans the magical fruit. Seeds and nuts like almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds are also good to go
Dark leafy greens (the darker the better)
Everything in the fruit stand.