Whenever I tell someone I’m a mental health + wellness coach, they always want to know about one thing: "what should I be eating?"
To be honest, when I started my business, I avoided talking about nutrition at all costs. What I thought was a passion for nutrition in college (I have the bachelor's degree to prove it!) ended up being a thinly-veiled eating disorder that haunted me for much of my younger adulthood. I was afraid of talking about anything that remotely looked like a diet, for fear of causing those same disordered eating habits in my clients.
It wasn’t until I discovered the relationship between the gut, mental health, and our diet that I started to look at food differently. I saw food as less of an enemy and more as an ally in helping me manage my depression. I stopped focusing on restricting so-called “bad” foods and started focusing on eating more anti-inflammatory, mental health-protective foods.
So let’s go back to the original question - what should you be eating to improve your mental health when you have depression?
While research has been unable to prove that one specific diet or another works better than any other for depression, people who have a higher quality diet seem to have fewer depression symptoms. There is also new research that eating anti-inflammatory foods can help boost mental health, too.
As I talked about in last week’s blog post, depression is linked with inflammation in the brain. However, research also shows that depression is linked to inflammation in the gut. This relationship may explain why an anti-inflammatory diet, (some say "the Mediterranean diet") may be promising for depression.
While research is still new, anti-inflammatory foods are the most promising nutrition tool we have when it comes to fighting depression. So let's talk about getting more of them in your diet!
How to eat more anti-inflammatory foods:
Did you learn something new about nutrition + depression? Let us know your fave in the comments!