The foods you eat play a pivotal role in the way your body feels each day — you know that.
But are you spending enough time prioritizing foods that help your mind feel good too?
Your mind and body are intrinsically connected, and your mental health is your physical health. When depression seeps into your brain, your body will feel it simultaneously. With 30 to 60% of depression patients showing little to no response to traditional treatments, more and more people are turning to their diets to heal their minds.
Research today shows that inflammation can exacerbate depressive symptoms, and trigger other physical, cognitive and behavioral changes. Targeting inflammation in the body could be the key to overcoming depression in the mind.
Here’s a few steps for overcoming inflammation holistically throughout your system.
- Be patient with yourself
Inflammation is a natural effect in the body. It’s how our immune system functions, and heals injuries or pains. Inflammation becomes a longer-term problem when it doesn’t resolve, and go away, at the end of the injury or sickness. At that point, the inflammation just builds on itself and can have dangerous side effects.
To help prevent this, go easy on yourself when you’re sick or injured. Remember that being out of commission for a few days is okay and try to get rest, and take the weight off any injured body parts. Pushing through the pain can only make things much worse in the long run.
- Less stress is best
Stress is occassionally inevitable but when we don’t proactively handle its presence, we can face effects that wreak havoc in our lives. Focus on the things you know bring you calm and try to practice mindfulness in your daily habits. Whether that means spending time alone with music you love, or going for regular walks, find the activities that make you feel less stressed.
Consider picking up a meditation habit as well, which is proven to have serious stress-reducing qualities. Meditation can help you focus mindfully on your actual priorities, breathe more fully and sleep better each night — all invaluable tools in your stress-fighting toolbox.
- Center your diet around anti-inflammatory foods
The word “inflammatory” gets thrown around a lot when we talk about foods, and it can be overwhelming. When you’re trying to take steps towards a less inflammatory diet, think about it in this simple way: eat more fruits and vegetables, eat less processed foods.
Drinking more water and eating more healthy produce are your two best places to start. From there, try switching most of your red meat for fatty fish rich in omega-3’s and brain-protecting nutrients. Crunch down on some magnesium-packed leafy greens and cook them with herbs and spices like garlic or turmeric instead of piles of salt. Finally, cut down on caffeine and alcohol as much as you can. Your body will thank you.