Healthy Eating and Depression
While the number of potential factors in physical depression is large, the good news is a small number of positive changes can bring about enormous benefit.
Over the years, I have been able to identify five lifestyle choices you can make that will dramatically improve your health. They are not complicated and are based on age-old common sense. Let’s first begin with health eating.
Healthy eating means choosing as many whole, unprocessed foods as possible:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Dairy products (eggs, milk, butter, cream, cheese)
- Whole grains
- Legumes (beans)
- Lean meats, fish, poultry
Eating healthy is not only what and where you eat but also how you eat, so keep the following in mind as you make whole-food choices:
- Don’t eat too much. Stop eating before you actually feel full. Intentionally start out with smaller portions and wait a few minutes before deciding if you need more.
- Eat a variety of whole foods. Healthy eating is not limited eating; rather, it is intentional eating that encompasses a medley of choices. Remember, produce is more than just apples and lettuce. Many times our choices are dictated by what we are used to, what we grew up with. Be adventurous and try different whole foods.
- Choose a healthy ratio of food. Eat more fruits and vegetables than breads. Eat more breads than dairy products. Eat more dairy products than meat and poultry. Eat more meat and poultry than sugars and fats. Choose healthy fats, such as those rich in omega-3s, and avoid trans fatty acids saturated fats.
Depressive thinking is tied to reactive thinking. Eating patterns can also be reactive. Just as recognizing, promoting, and sustaining optimism, hope, and joy are intentional choices, so is eating healthy. One supports the other. It is empowering to know that you can choose everything you put in your mouth. In overcoming depression, you want to make each bite count.
Dr. Gregory Jantz is the founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 35 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety, and others.