When we think about eating well in terms of being healthy, our basic biological functions are what most often come to mind first. Will it help me with my metabolism, will it support me in maintaining a healthy weight, promote a healthy heart, make us look and feel younger, and fight cancer.
What few seem to discuss is how much what we eat, or what we’re lacking affects our mental state, our brain function, and ability to think and feel clearly. And while there are manifold studies about the link of nutrition with depression, it doesn’t seem to filter its way so much into our cultural discussions, or what we hear about in the nutritional media. But thankfully, that seems to be changing.
Poor diet quality has been shown to be a (modifiable) risk factor for depression, meaning: it can alter the circumstances. Studies show low levels of omega-3 fatty acid status increase the risk of depression, as do deficiencies in true food-based folate (not folic acid), vitamin B12, iron, zinc, and selenium, as well as antioxidants.
The medical community has become very aware that depression in childbearing women is an adverse effects of poor nutrition, because pregnancy and lactation constitute great nutritional stresses on the body. It is an established common sense outcome that the depletion of nutrient reserves throughout pregnancy and a lack of recovery postpartum may increase a woman’s risk of depression.
But pregnant woman are not they only populace dealing with great stressors on their mental and biological chemistry. Yes, they experience depletion and deficiency in mere months that it might take years for another to notice.
While adequate nutrition is needed for proper brain functioning, most of us lead such hectic lives that we need to seek repletion instead of mere adequacy. While we easily understand the connection between nutritional deficiencies and physical illness, it’s still hard for people to see a concrete connection between nutrition, depression and mental illness. This is likely because our emotions and our thinking seem so subjective. It’s a common adage that depression is a chemical issue, and so many are prescribed various intensities of psychiatric meds. But maybe there’s a conversation around preventative that we all should be having.
So Let’s Talk about some foods that can “B” Good for Mood :: Thiamine B1 – B-12 – Folate
Deficiency here will be responsible for confused thinking, forgetfulness and overall malaise or feelings of mental depression. Without good levels of B1, our brain cells cannot properly derive their energy through efficient glucose production. This leads to an over-accumulation of two acids in the brain cells: lactic and pyruvic acid becomes toxic. best sources for B1: trout, green peas, asparagus, tahini, sunflower seeds, pistachios. B-12: Clams, mussels, oysters, crab, sardines, salmon, eggs - Not only do clams have the highest concentration of vitamin B12 of any food, they’re also filled with potassium. Folate: Duck liver, garbanzo beans, pintos, lentils, spinach, asparagus, beets, avocado.