How Depressing is Your Food? And You?
What You Eat Counts!
RIGHT NOW, here in my little hamlet just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, it’s steadily raining. November is in full swing, the days grow short, my work is erratic. All this is a potent combination for some depression; at least a tinge, no?
Well… actually, I feel great, which is mildly perplexing. “Self”, I asked, “Why don’t you feel more blue?”
This post, which is about depression, or the lack thereof; and eating, or what’s being eaten, or not.
Turns out, as I discovered during the last hour or two buzzing the web for information on this topic, there are a potpourri of depression types, and they’re not the same. Not to mention depression-enhancing and depression-abating food.
Drum roll, please… here are some types of depression (which is yours?):
Today, I had the potential for circling around “Seasonal Depression” myself, because of this season of short days, rain, cold, bouts of unemployment, etc. After all, depression is “characterized by a combination of symptoms that interfere with a person’s ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy once-pleasurable activities”, right?
Reversing the causality, perhaps it’s depression that’s interfering with work (yes), sleep (no), study (if ever), eat (what’s eaten is the question) and pleasurable activities (usually, those are outside and it’s RAINING). That’s how I typically look at it — the depression happens first and then all the rest gets messed with.
Au contraire. It appears some quick, deeply lurking thing within triggers this thing called depression, and creates havoc on much of everything in our lives.
It’s important to identify how debilitating depression is in your life, because if it’s pretty much any of those listed above, you should seek the advice of someone trained in such matters. But if it’s the less debilitating, garden variety type that I very well could have been feeling today, perhaps some self-administered cures are in order, such as repeating a feel-good mantra a few thousand times, moving your body till your lungs oxygenate it, jumping in bed for a romp with some unsuspecting stranger, ingesting some ProSAMe, and shifting your diet around.
Here comes the food part.
I write a lot about food. That adage that “we are what we eat” is pretty darn accurate. Not that you look like a flank steak or a bowl of porridge, but your body — that bag of biochemistry — is built by the nutrient stuff of what you eat. And since here, the “You” of you is substantially impacted by what you eat.
The number one food category that’s depression-enhancing? Junk Food. Those who regularly eat high-fat foods, processed meals, desserts and sweets are almost 60% more likely to suffer depression than those who choose fruit, vegetables and fish, says this article summarizing the findings of a study in the British Journal of Psychiatry. (And here’s a good one, too.)
The reason, they believe, is due to “the high levels of antioxidants in fruits and vegetables [that] protect against depression, as does the folate found in broccoli, cabbage, spinach, lentils and chickpeas”.
Which circles back to where this post began — why on an otherwise depressing day, I’m feeling good? Could it be my diet? Check it out… there are several posts on this site for your food focus that may help reset your body chemistry to healthy, depression-abating levels, such as Diet 101, A Blueprint for Eating Right, and 86 Year-old Billionaire’s Recipe for Longevity. Not to mention a plethora of additional benefits.
May the rain fall gently on your life.