[vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” text_align=”left” css_animation=”” box_shadow_on_row=”no”][vc_column][vc_column_text]The mind and body are not two separate things but part of your whole self. Knowing this helps to explain why our lifestyle and food choices affect our moods and emotions and our ability to deal with stress. You no longer have to feel that there is nothing you can do to improve your experiences with depression and anxiety. With a few great ideas, alleviating symptoms of these common emotions can be simple.

Living a balanced life helps us to maintain more balanced mood and emotions. Simple ways to do this include the following:

1. First of all, you must get plenty of good quality rest! How can you handle the stresses of the day if you are exhausted? Making sleep a priority in your life will not only improve your moods and emotions, but will improve your overall physical wellbeing and will help to balance your weight naturally too. When you sleep, you not only rest and rejuvenate, but your body detoxifies, heals, and balances various hormones that affect food cravings and metabolism. Consider trying to get to bed well before midnight. Some believe that the hours before midnight are the most rejuvenating. Follow the signs and rhythms of Mother Nature and when it gets dark outside, it is time to rest. This may mean a bit more hibernation in the winter months, which is a good thing!

2. Please be properly hydrated. The cells of your body and even more so your brain are mostly water and therefore, need to be hydrated to work properly. How can you feel good and energized if you are dehydrated. Also, one study showed that children who drank a glass of water before taking a test scored higher on the exam than those that did not. Being able to think clearly as you deal with life challenges certainly helps to lessen the severity of anxiety and depression.

3. Never skip a meal! By eating healthy foods on a regular schedule, you will keep blood sugar balanced, which will improve your energy and clarity. Mood swings often accompany blood sugar swings so by balancing blood sugar, moods are more balanced. Eating highly processed foods that are high in sugar is not the answer. Eat a meal rich with real whole plant foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, peas, nuts and seeds so that you are getting plenty of fiber and natural nutrients that keep your blood sugar steady.

4. Avoid highly inflammatory foods that encourage depression and anxiety such as caffeine, sugar, unhealthy processed fats such as hydrogenated fats and processed vegetable oils, artificial ingredients such as artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and colors. Many of these ingredients are artificial stimulants that can interfere with your serotonin levels, which is your happiness hormone. Dr. Russell Blaylock wrote about a study that linked inflammation with depression. Processed foods filled with chemicals and artificial ingredients are a huge source of inflammation and also contain excitotoxins that can affect brain and mood health. Again, drink plenty of water and eat real whole naturally raised foods and better levels of health and wellbeing are easier to obtain.

5. Maintain a healthy level of beneficial bacteria in your gut. What does gut flora have to do with depression? Well, more than you may have realized before now. Yes you need a balance of beneficial bacteria to maintain a healthy digestive system and to insure the proper breakdown and assimilation of nutrients. There is also, however, a gut and brain connection that is very real. Some have recognized that people with depression tend to have insufficient levels of beneficial bacteria in their digestive systems. The thought is that the vagus nerve that runs between the digestive system and the brain plays a key role in this interaction. How do you gain more beneficial bacteria?

Consider the following:

  • Take a natural probiotic
  • Consume healthy fermented foods such as:
    • Raw unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
    • Naturally fermented vegetables like cabbage or kimchi
    • Miso
    • Tempeh
    • Natto

6. Getting enough B-vitamins in your diet is important for preventing and reducing issues with anxiety and depression. Eat foods high in Folate such as green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, lentils, asparagus, beets, avocadoes etc. and foods high in B6, such as bananas, whole grains, legumes, sunflower seeds, carrots, spinach, peas etc. and taking a B12 supplement is helpful.

7. Consider including foods high in Omega 3 fats to reduce inflammation and to aid in neurological health such as flax, walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, some green leafy vegetables and algae (which is what the fish eat to get omega 3.

8. Eat more plant foods! Dr. Micheal Greger who runs a popular Nutrition Facts web site and who is one of the medical experts in our film, Bethany’s Story, reported on a study that showed that vegetarians tend to be happier and have more energy than non vegetarians. The thought initially was that it was due to the fact that people who choose a more vegetarian lifestyle tend to be happier and healthier anyway. But after further studies where researchers removed all meat, fish, poultry and eggs from the diet of people suffering from depression, their moods improved after just two weeks. Further analysis found that certain foods boost your serotonin levels in your brain (again your happiness hormone). Which foods improve your happiness hormone levels?

The following list is certainly a good start:

  • Pineapple
  • Bananas
  • Kiwis
  • Plums
  • Tomatoes
  • Coconut oil
  • Legumes
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Whole Grains

9. Another report highlighted by Dr. Greger is the benefit of a spice called saffron in improving moods and emotions. Well saffron, an expensive herb or spice used in Middle Eastern food, is also a food that has been found to increase levels of serotonin and other chemicals in the brain.

According to Dr. Greger, “In a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, the researchers found that saffron was as effective as Prozac in reducing symptoms of depression. Participants taking saffron also reported fewer side effects such as sweating and sexual dysfunction!”

10. Eat healthy forms of chocolate!!! Those that have been following me for years know that I am a huge fan of pure cocoa as a treat now and then. Cocoa is not only rich with minerals and antioxidant, it also has PEA (or Phenylethylamine) that helps to boost your moods and emotions. The problem with chocolate is that even if it is good dark chocolate, chocolate candy always has sugar, which we learned above, is not a good thing for balanced moods and emotions. Peruse our web site or grab a copy of my “Fabulous Recipes for Vibrant Health” to learn easy, delicious and healthful ways to get good dark cocoa into your diet without added simple sugars.

In summary, living a healthier and more balanced life by getting plenty of rest, drinking fresh clean water and eating a diet rich with whole plant foods not only promotes good physical health but also provides an opportunity for you to better cope emotionally with the challenges of life. So try these suggestions and don’t forget to eat some chocolate!!!

To learn more ways to Embrace a Better Life, learn more throughout our website at www.sanaview.com.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]