Fertility Within Reach’s Ask the Expert Series:
We would like to introduce you to our guest blogger, Valerie Johnston. She is a health and fitness writer. Her work can be found at Healthline.com. We’ve asked Valerie to share her thoughts related to diet and health and what patients, including infertility patients, can do to help support their mental health, during the stress of infertility and self-advocacy.
1. What is your training in health and nutrition? I have a BS in Agribusiness with a Minor in Animal Science. I have extensive training in human anatomy and physiology. I have also been writing over health and nutrition professionally for 8 years and have worked with NY Times Bestselling authors on content to help them promote their books and products.
2. How does our food intake impact our bodies? Food has a huge impact on our bodies. If you fill yourself with junk, you will feel unhealthy, depressed and have low self-esteem. This is something I’ve struggled with myself and as soon as I begin filling myself with healthy fruits, vegetables and lean meats, I notice many changes in my overall well-being and confidence.
3. 40% of those living with infertility for 2 years or more experience some form of depression or anxiety. Is there a diet you recommend to help combat depression? I honestly feel that a diet of healthy fruits, vegetables and lean meats will work wonders on your overall attitude and is up lifting. Of course, regular exercise helps with this as well as the endorphins really do make a difference in your mind and after exercising regularly you will feel “off” if you don’t do it. Saying that, it’s natural to have a little “splurge” here and there and that’s just part of enjoying life and enjoying food overall.
4. Can you give us an overview of an anti-depressant diet?
An Anti-Depressant Diet for Anyone
Depression is a challenging issue, and it can be tough to know if someone is truly, clinically depressed or if their symptoms are related to an underlying health condition. Even when a sense of sadness or extreme fatigue seems to be so persistent that the individual believes it must be depression; it could still be something completely different. Keep in mind that true depression is often caused by imbalanced chemicals in the brain, and that a wide array of issues may be the cause of that imbalance.
On the other hand, there are many times in life when we feel the helplessness, loss of interest, fatigue, and mood swings that are so commonly associated with depression because of something else in our life. People experiencing infertility, as an example, will often come to feel as if they are depressed and overwhelmed. This is the time to use an anti-depressant diet.
Understanding Diet as a Remedy
While we all know about “comfort foods” and the ways that they can bump up our pants size, we should also take time to learn about anti-depressant foods and the ways that they can bump up our mood. These are foods that actually empower people to begin to feel better because they provide optimal nutrition and strong doses of natural compounds that support such things as brain function, hormone production, and cellular repair.
The Foods to Choose
While you could visit a website for a group like the USDA and checkout their food plate system if you wanted to eat a balanced diet, it would not be the same as taking steps to discover the contents of the anti-depressant diet.
This is due to the simple fact that an eating plan is a method of taking in all of the nutrients required by the body, but this is not the same as making individual food choices based on a need to improve the mood or to combat feelings of depression. So, the tactic to use is to develop a strong and healthy eating plan, and be sure that you rely heavily on the following foods to elevate mood, combat depression, and generally improve health and well-being:
- Salmon – Although all fish with high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids are good for the brain, salmon (especially when it is caught in the wild) is also loaded with B12. This combination of oil and vitamins promotes the creation of serotonin, a “feel good” neurotransmitter created in the brain.
- Dark green leafy vegetables – With high amounts of folic acid, foods like spinach, romaine lettuce, and turnip greens will step up to fight feelings of fatigue and depression. They also deliver a lot of magnesium, which has been proven to help with serotonin production.
- Eggs – Yes, we know that the information about them is always conflicting – do you eat them? Do you avoid the cholesterol? The thing about eggs is that they are loaded with vitamins D and B12, and these are mood boosting compounds that also help with brain function. So, eat an egg or two every few days and you should be in the safe cholesterol range. Speaking of range…go for those cage-free and all-natural eggs if you can.
- Chocolate – While you probably hoped this one appeared on the list, you do need to know that the darker the chocolate, the better. This is because it is loaded with antioxidants and mood enhancers like tryptophan and tyrosine. Just don’t go overboard with it.
- Poultry – Chicken and turkey have tryptophan, and this is another serotonin creating compound. They also have tyrosine that helps build more of the beneficial neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine.
Add these food sources to your daily diet and you will notice an increase in mood right away. Don’t forget 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise too as this only enhances the results of a good diet.
Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.
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