Nutrition might feel a bit like a slippery slope this year, particularly after this tsunami we call 2020. Mother-nature surprised us with a wildcard virus. On top of this, there is financial pressure, lost jobs, systemic racial disputes and all other kinds of upheaval. In essence, not only is our nutrition plummeting, but we’re all feeling a little emotionally inflamed. Don’t be too hard on yourselves. This year has been really hard and according to the stats Depression is on the rise.
Not everyone is a fan of anti-depressants or reaching for the medicine cabinet first thing. Although there is a very good reason why many people need and should use these. A lot of the time, the brain needs really great nutrition. It helps your brain produce happy hormones. Whilst circumstances probably don’t feel the happiest right now. Happiness starts from within. So if you can at least get your happy hormones flowing. You should feel a little better despite it all.
We’ve used nutrition as a way to feel better about ourselves for years. Many cultures have used meal preparation as a way to show their love and affection for somebody. In fact, they’ve even used whole emotional exchanges without saying a word. But now we’ve got the science to prove it. Studies show specific links between nutrition and its potential to help manage depression symptoms.
This can also be taken the wrong way. Many people might use food as their means of comfort. You want to try to eat the right nutrition for the right reasons. Also, not everyone is lucky enough to be surrounded by loved ones who can cook happiness-boosting foods for them in times of need. Particularly now. Sadly, depression can feel so heavy that it’s very tough to get out of bed. Putting a healthy meal together feels like too much effort.
Nutrition That’s Easy For The Worst Times
You won’t believe how many more people are desperately searching for ways to cook better meals. However, they’re struggling emotionally and need nutrition that’s tasty and easy enough to cook. Even during the thick of those really hard moments. A depressive spell is very difficult to shake and many have been experiencing them. This sparked an entire conversation about ‘depression meals’ on Reddit.
The world is experiencing inflammation emotionally. We’re all fighting these demons and it’s got to stop, somehow. According to integrative and nutritional psychiatrist Ria Battaglino, MD, there are a lot of healthy, easy meals for depression. All of which supports overall brain and mental health.
Dr Battaglino says the first organ to receive nutrition from the food we eat is the brain. Moreover, if the brain doesn’t get what it needs, it sends out messages. However, if these messages are ignored, they will get more intense. These happen in the form of shaking, tremors, stomach aches, headaches, anxiety, panic attacks, weakness, or fatigue.
Therefore, it is vital to ensure you manage your blood sugar levels correctly. Dr Battaglino says that when blood glucose levels are stable, it prevents energy and mood from spiking and crashing. High-sugar foods, as well as those made primarily of simple carbs with little protein or fiber, can spike blood glucose levels and thereby impact stress and anxiety levels. Fortunately, there are several core foods that will work in your favor.
We are going to highlight them here while also sharing some easy nutrition ideas.
Quick And Easy Nutrition For Down Days
We love food because it is the ultimate cure. When you love food and good nutrition as much as we do, you’ll notice the benefits immediately. Nutrition is our healer and food is your friend, your fuel source.
That’s why, even when cooking is the last thing you can face today, it is the thing you need most. More than likely. Dr Battaglino recommends opting for these simple nutrition and happily filled recipes below.
Frozen Or Canned Fish With Leafy Greens
Dr Battaglino says one of the best foods for mental health is fatty fish, like salmon, sardines, and tuna. This is because they’re rich in omega-3s. Moreover, fatty acids are beneficial for brain and heart health and have the potential to help with depression and other mental health conditions.
Although there’s tons of research which supports this statement, more conclusive research is needed.
Often, people avoid fish because they think it’s complicated to cook it. However, you can buy fish fresh, frozen, or canned. However, the nutrition you get is totally worth it and fish is not as difficult to cook as you might think. Frozen or fresh fish can be quickly baked in the oven at 400°F for 10 minutes with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. But even if 10 minutes sounds too long, canned fish comes ready-to-eat.
Dr Battaglino suggests pairing your fish with leafy greens, which are a good source of magnesium, another nutrient linked to combating depression. She explains that magnesium is so important for neurological function. It helps treat anxiety or depression, and it’s a nutrient most people in the U.S. are deficient in.
Peanut Butter On Whole-Wheat Toast
Dr Battaglino recommends nuts and seeds.
This is because they contain lots of magnesium, and don’t require any cooking whatsoever. A bonus, especially when you’re not up to cooking. Better yet, you can add a handful to your oatmeal which will help boost your mood.
Nuts also provide healthy fats and protein to help keep blood sugars stable. This is the kind of nutrition you need when you’re feeling lousy. You can also reap the mental health benefits of nuts by enjoying them in nut butter form, like peanut butter on whole-wheat toast. Come on, you won’t get nutrition like this, that’s any easier.
Frozen Spinach And Plant Pasta
There’s no doubt that feeling sad or down makes you crave all kinds of comfort food, especially cheesy pasta or lasagna. Whilst you can’t devour tons of pasta, you can satisfy your craving for a hearty pasta dish by opting for a protein-rich pasta. There are so many healthy, happy-boosting pasta alternatives nowadays.
Dr Battaglino says you can still have mac-and-cheese. Just choose pasta that has good nutrition and won’t spike your blood sugar. Edamame, chickpeas, and lentil pasta are all good choices to consider. Plus, many alt-pastas cook even faster than traditional flour pasta, which is an added perk for depression meal crafting.
Then add some nutrition while the pasta cooks on the stove top. Add frozen spinach to the pot for some extra magnesium in your meal. Frozen spinach is great because it’s cheap, easy to find, and quick to make. You can just steam it on the stove or throw it in the microwave. This combo (or trio of cheeses) still has all the makings of a classic comfort food dish, but it also delivers on the brain health front, too.
White Bean Soup With Saurkraut
Dr Battaglino says fermented foods have also been scientifically linked to improving mood. Why? Because of all their probiotic-goodness. Some cultures, like Asian cultures, naturally work fermented foods into the majority of their meals, but they aren’t often included in American ones. Dr Battaglino says sauerkraut is full of probiotics, although she emphasizes the importance of buying it refrigerated. Apparently many shelf-stable sauerkrauts are pasteurized which largely loses the probiotic benefits.
For optimal nutrition, pair your ‘kraut with pre-made chicken or vegetable broth and canned white beans. This will make a quick and nourishing comfort meal. Not only is this a high-protein and high-fiber meal ready in minutes, but beans also contain magnesium.
Magnesium seems to be winning the nutrition contest here, keep that in mind.
This is a very simple, but highly efficient and nutrition-packed soup. We know, soup takes time, but NOT this one.
Miso soup is another fermented food and a good source of probiotics. Dr Battaglino says if truly all you have the energy for is heating something up the microwave or stove, this meal can be it. Miso is also high in protein, so it delivers on the energy-giving front, too.
These easy meals are all jam-packed with nutrition and will help boost your mood. They will also keep blood sugar levels steady which makes them optimal for depression, or rather, ‘happy meals.’ More importantly, the mere act of getting out of bed and putting in the effort (even if it is minimal) is important. Dr Battaglino explains that it’s important to eat and have regular mealtimes because having a routine is good for our mental health.
And unfortunately, right now during quarantine, many people are not following a regular routine and are falling into depression, anxiety, or state of listlessness. Whilst it’s still good to be flexible, you must develop some form of routine to help yourself reach a happy point. A nutrition routine will help you a lot.
Just because we’re facing a pandemic, with no more spa days, doesn’t mean you can’t create your own spa-like experience. What’s better is you get to do this in your own hot tub.
A Nutritional Psychiatrist Shares the Healthy ‘Depression Meals’ That Will Help You Stay Fuelled When You’re Having a Hard Time. Well, and Good. https://www.wellandgood.com/good-advice/easy-meals-depression/
The 4 Reactor Types to Help You Deal With ‘Emotional Inflammation’. Well, and good. https://www.wellandgood.com/good-advice/emotional-inflammation/