We all have times where we feel less than 100%, but if you are finding it harder to get enjoyment out of things you used to love, if the the strains of modern life are getting you down, you may want to take a closer look at your diet.
A study of close to 300,000 Canadians found that the more fruits and vegetables a person consumed, the lower their odds of depression, anxiety disorders and self-reported psychological distress. Another study showed a strong link in older people between antioxidant-rich tomato products (just one of the many colorful fruits and vegetables that contain health-boosting antioxidants) and the odds of depression.
So what’s going on here? According to researchers at the Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine at Ottawa University, “Stress places an additional demand on the body, in terms of nutrition. In a condition of stress, there is an increase in adrenal production and mobilization, utilization of vitamins and minerals, e.g. vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, and micronutrients, which further accelerates metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, producing quick energy to overcome stress.” In other words, stress saps vitamins and nutrients from our body—some of which can combat symptoms of depression.
Researchers concluded that there was a positive association between the amount of stress-reducing antioxidants in a person’s body, and the likelihood that that person would be depressed.
So what does this mean to the average person? Of course, anyone suffering from persistent depression should seek out therapy and speak to a trusted physician, but for the average person seeking to ward off the blues, the grocery aisle may be a good place to start.
Antioxidants can be found in many of the foods we eat every day, and the best way to make sure you are getting your fill of the vitamins that help you ward off the blues is to let your eyes be your guide. When filling up your grocery cart, look for richly colored fruits and vegetables, and be sure to shop for the entire rainbow. Red foods such as tomatoes and strawberries, orange carrots, pink grapefruit, leafy greens, blue potatoes and even brown foods like beans, mushrooms and (good news!) even chocolate are all full of mood enhancing vitamins.
And don’t forget to drink up! Red wine and coffee are two drinks that pack an antioxidant punch, as well as Kenyan Purple Tea, a new tea varietal that’s been shown to contain more phenylalonol than green tea, along with the potent obesity-fighting anthocyanins that other purple foods contain.
With so many options for antioxidant-rich foods and drinks, it isn’t hard to find new (and delicious!) ways to lift your mood.