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Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Link between Sugar & Depression: 7 Ways to NATURALLY Boost Your Happy Hormones and Feel GREAT!

What would you do if you discovered the foods you have been eating for most of your life are causing an imbalance in your brain chemistry? Many of the popular foods we thought were good for us are actually unhealthy and make us sick and give us a poor outlook on life! Let’s take a look at just a few of these foods we have been deceived into believing are good for us.

Diet sodas and diet foods: anything made with fake sugar (over time) cause all kinds of complications in our body from disease to cancer.  What do you think is going to happen to our mental outlook when we put fake food products such as synthetic sugar, into our body on a daily basis? Brain cells need nourishment to be robust and fit just like any other organ in our body.  People tend to forget that the food we put into our body comes back out in our emotional well being just as it does in our physical well being; because our minds are not separate from our bodies in a physical way.  If our body is worn down, we won’t function as well mentally.

Wheat (not whole) breads and other “wheat” bakery products: Just because the bread has the word “grain” in it and they throw in a handful of nuts or seeds, does not mean a thing.  Look at the label. If the first ingredient is not “whole wheat” then it is really not nutritious. This kind of food is what we call “filler” food because it fills you up, but your organs and brain cells are starving from lack of nutrients.

White flour products and white rice both convert into sugar during assimilation and causes blood sugar spikes which is not a good thing for those with hypoglycemia and diabetes. Besides that, something most people do not know is that once the food converts to sugar, sure it makes you feel good for awhile, but for some people, especially those who are susceptible to depression will feel disheartened once the sugar passes through the bloodstream. They’ll want another soda pop, or another candy bar, or another cup of coffee with sugar in it, or anther alcoholic drink to keep them going physically and emotionally...perk them back up!

Chocolate:  Chocolate is NOT good for you. In fact it is quite unhealthy and why we can’t eat very much of it without breaking out with pimples and feeling headachy and lousy the next day. Foods that are good for the body, when eaten in moderation should not make you feel bad, ever. Chocolate wrecks havoc on our emotions and for those people who are susceptible to depression should steer away from chocolate and refined sugar products.
HOWEVER, Pure cocoa is a whole food without any un-whole, moderated additions like synthetic sugar.  And that’s what makes it good for your mind and body.

More POPULAR Foods That Trigger Depression

Refined sugar: If you suffer from low moods, you may also have intense cravings for sugar. This is your body's way of trying to increase serotonin because eating sugar produces insulin, which gives you a temporary feeling of elation. But too much sugar overtime can eventually cause addiction to sugar, insulin resistance, hypoglycemia and alcoholism.

Alcohol: If you are trying to overcome depression you should not drink alcohol.  Alcohol works against the body, causing havoc within our emotions, which only exacerbate symptoms of depression; because alcohol converts to sugar in our blood stream we think we feel great while we’re putting them down, but when we stop drinking and the sugar vanishes we come down like a bolt of lightning, making us feel like we want another drink, hence alcoholism and depression.

Antidepressants:  They’re not food, but some people use them instead of whole food to feel better.  Antidepressants and pain medications are intended to mask the symptoms of depression and they may do that but they also throw the body’s hormone system out of whack. The most important thing you can do for your mental health is to get to the origin of why you feel depressed in the first place, and for your physical health is to eat a good daily diet, so you can stop taking damaging medications that actually do more harm than good.

We could go on and on with the list of foods that are unhealthy for our body but we’ll save that for another time. The fact is, if our eating lifestyle consists of foods that are insufficient in vitamins and minerals and we engage in bad habits and rarely exercise, etc, these things tend to act like a bad drug to the brain. And then we wonder why we may feel depressed, anxious, or moody.

Waking up our Happy Hormones in our Brain Chemistry

Are your happy hormones sleeping or hibernating? There are hormones in our brain that act as valves to control our moods.  We all need a certain nutritional balance for our brains which provides a person’s contentment levels. People who are prone to feelings of despair and depression are not processing as much nutrition through these brain valves because of nutritional deficiencies. 

However, the good news is anyone can boost these levels in their brain through a healthy (eating) lifestyle. We believe the physical is well tied into the emotional and spiritual, and vice versa.  So there’s more to this idea we’re discussing, and the physical side of it is a good place to start.  That’s the focus of this article.

1. Fish Brings Happy Hormones out of Hibernation: Omega-3 fatty acids, found in cold-water fish such as tuna, mackerel and salmon can remarkably reduce symptoms of depression? Sardines, oysters and flax seeds, are also high on the list of foods with substantial amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.

People who raise their intake of Omega-3’s by several times in a week, show significant improvement in anxiety, insomnia, sadness, and depression. 

Remember, we absolutely need to eat a healthy diet while incorporating the Omega-3 foods too. Think Mediterranean diet but substitute the white flour foods for whole wheat.  The ideal diet consists of fish, some amount of chicken and turkey, whole grains, beans, peas, legumes, nuts and seeds, cold-pressed EV oils and an assortment of colorful vegetables and fruits.  

If it is processed and denatured, don’t eat it. Let’s take a look at some more foods that can boost hormone levels of the brain, providing us with feelings of contentment and joy.

Naturally Boost Your Happy Hormones

2. Vitamin B6: B6 is found in spinach, turnip greens, garlic, cauliflower, mustard greens, celery, fish, such as tuna, salmon, cod and red snapper. Also chicken and turkey and lean beef tenderloin. Spinach should be eaten raw or either lightly steamed. Remember with any vegetable it is always best to keep it in its natural state as much as possible.

3. Magnesium: Magnesium levels tend to be lower in people who suffer from depressed moods. Foods high in magnesium are, halibut, tuna, bananas, dried figs, barley, buckwheat, oat bran, wheat flour, prune juice, almonds, Brazil nuts, black beans, lima beans, broccoli, cornmeal and cocoa.

4. Whole Grains and Seeds: Whole grains that are especially good for gloominess are amaranth, buckwheat, millet, brown rice, whole grain breads and cereals. Nuts and seeds are also great foods that will boost happiness levels. Walnuts are especially good and so is, you guessed it, cocoa wins again! These foods are healthy, high-protein carbohydrates, which are critical for increasing much needed minerals and nutrients. Any cold-pressed oil such as EXTRA Virgin Olive or EV Coconut Oil is especially good to eat daily. Make sure you keep the oils raw, however.

5. Fermented Foods: Fermented foods and liquids greatly assist in digestion and assimilation of all the important nutrients we need for a heathy body and emotional stability.  But if we are not digesting our food properly, that is, if we do not combine food groups properly, or if we are constipated and toxic, our body will not meet the nutritional levels it needs for a positive outlook. Most people may first need to do a colon cleanse to rid the body of toxins for achieving good digestion and assimilation.

Fermented foods actually boost the nutrient levels in the food we eat by at least a hundred fold, while at the same time manufacturing the essential B vitamins that also help with our emotional well being. 

Sauerkraut is an excellent source of fermented food. In addition, an excellent fermented drink is Dong Quai, which is great for energy and mood and it decreases cravings for sugar! Other great fermented drinks are raw yogurt and kefir.  We urge anyone who is susceptible to negative mood swings and depression to eat a fermented food daily, along with a healthy whole foods diet.

6. Herbs: The herbal supplements St Johns Wart and Gingko Biloba are both excellent natural sources for helping with depression and giving the body a boost of energy at the same time. We should never fail to recognize the importance of herbs as they do work wonders in certain situations. Herbs should and can be used in combination with other helpful natural treatments. always make sure that any herbs you are taking will not interfere with any pharmaceutical medicine you might be taking.

7. Exercise: Exercise that gets the heart rate moving boosts contentment hormone levels in the brain.  Even gentle exercise like walking can boost our immunity and mood, in the overall plan.  Getting outside, smelling the fresh air, listening to the birds, and walking under the sun or rain is very good for a positive well being. Walking is one of the best activities that virtually anyone can partake in. We say, "walk for life".

If you want to feel contentment and joy the natural way, the first place to start is in your daily diet.  Are you going to let food devour you or will you let food make you well? Having good health in body, mind, and soul is a lifestyle choice. Don’t let depression, mood swings, or anxiety keep you from enjoying life to its fullest. 

We're not just writers, we practice what we preach, including everything in this article.  Get the ins and outs with more detail in our book:  "Better Health Better Life".

We're an Expat Family of Five Living Frugal, Healthy and Happy in Cuenca Ecuador! Enjoy our blog!

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