The Gut-Brain Connection: How Your Diet Can Improve Your Depression

The Nutritional Two-Way Street

To get straight to the point, depression is a mental condition that can be debilitating. Characterized by negative thoughts and behaviors, depression often leads to a downward spiral of hopelessness.

It affects millions of people per year and can cause you to live a low-quality life by impacting your job, family, and lifestyle.

Though depression can seem like an immovable heavy cloud, it’s not. To debunk this cloud-shaped myth, let’s introduce the gut-brain connection.

For starters, nutrition is a two-way street. What this means is that there are foods that support health—mental and physical. Conversely, foods exist that can harm your overall health.

In this day and age, both the good and bad food groups have been identified. As you may have guessed, the struggle with a nutritional two-way street is not in understanding the actual gut-brain connection. Rather, the struggle is in steering clear of the tempting foods that don’t help you.

Here’s what I mean.

Stay Away From These Foods

This notorious list doesn’t simply exist because of health nuts and fitness gurus. Numerous scientific studies have deemed these foods as harmful to your mental and physical well-being.

Caffeine

If you’re like most people, this first culprit is a regular part of your dieting habits. And understandably so. After all, most people enjoy a warm cup of joe in the morning or a refreshingly cool soft drink during lunch.

While the ocean of caffeine can be delicious, it can also really hurt your mood. Caffeine lowers your serotonin levels. Thus, putting you at a greater risk for anxiety, poor sleep, and—you guessed it—depression.

So, caffeine-lovers, take into consideration this profound gut-brain connection and reduce your intake.

“Comfort” Foods

To be more specific, the comfort foods to which I’m referring are foods high in calories but low in nutrition. In other words, processed foods with a skyrocketing level of refined sugars.

While these foods may be delightful for your taste buds, their effect on your gut-brain connection will have you wishing you didn’t partake.

The hard truth about these foods is that they do offer you a temporary reprieve from the typical depression symptoms. Almost like a food-induced high, if you will. But by the time your blood sugar level changes, and you experience the epic crash, the tasty treats are often exempt from blame being so far gone from your memory.

This is not to say you should never eat another “comfort” food. Simply use caution and focus on maintaining a steady blood sugar level.

Alcohol

Like caffeine and comfort foods, alcohol depletes serotonin and brings on a crash-and-burn feeling. Furthermore, it provides a sort of temporary relief from depression symptoms but ultimately welcomes anxiety and panic attacks.

An occasional drink is typically acceptable, but nothing good usually comes from heavy drinking. Especially in terms of your gut-brain connection.

Eat More Prevention Foods

To better support you gut-brain connection, choose foods high in the following vitamins and minerals:

  • B12
  • Folate
  • Vitamin D
  • Selenium
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • Antioxidants
  • Fiber

Need a good place to start?

Here are 10 superfoods that are a surefire way to boost your mood and stabilize it as well:

  • Dark leafy greens
  • Beans
  • Avocados
  • Walnuts
  • Berries
  • Tomatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Seeds
  • Apples

Let’s Get Started

If you’re ready to improve your depression by changing your diet, please contact me. I can help you to identify areas where your diet falls short and support you in making sustainable changes that will improve your depression naturally.