“You are what you eat.”
How many times have you heard this statement? In a world where the food police virtually have an open book to hassle everybody about their eating habits, they hammer this message home to educate people about the benefits of healthy eating.
In cases where individuals have become grossly overweight, then this statement rings true. If your diet is based on junk food – sugar, fat, fast food etc., then your body will reflect your eating habits and you will put on weight and your arteries will clog. You increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and cancer.
But when we look at people who suffer from stress, depression or anxiety, this statement has no foundation whatsoever. The reason is simple. Foods, no matter what they are, cannot make you stressed, depressed or anxious. And no matter what the food police say, foods cannot cure these problems. There are some foods that can help you feel better, but they won’t cure you. I’ll reveal my choice picks shortly.
Many people who suffer the torment of a depressive, stressful or anxious episode do so because of reasons entirely unrelated to their diet. Also, I have personally known people whose diet has been anything but healthy and yet they are pictures of happiness. A very good friend of mine is a great example of this. She eats junk food day-in, day-out and yet, as anyone who knows her will testify, she is one of the happiest and friendliest people you could wish to meet.
Depression, stress and anxiety can and will arise no matter how healthy your diet is. Foods don’t cause these problems and foods don’t cure these problems. However, they can help to boost mood and here’s 3 quick, simple tips I have personally used to help me boost my moods. Give them a try and see how you get on.
1. Cod liver oil. Liquid is best but it’s harsh to taste. Try capsules. Failing that, try oily fish like mackerel. I loathe oily fish but the capsules are fine. Oily fish is high in Omega 3, an essential fatty acid. If you’re taking aspirin or you’re on prescribed drugs, just check with your doctor before you take an Omega 3 supplement.
2. I don’t eat refined sugar, especially full sugar soda. I cannot sleep if I drink just one can of full sugar soda so I avoid it like the plague. I sleep better and I’m not as fidgety during the day. Although sugar doesn’t cause depression, stress or anxiety, there are links to hyperactivity and I’m definitely less hyper than I used to be. See how you feel without sugar.
3. Sometimes, when you’re feeling a bit down, comfort food can be the equivalent of a hug. There are many comfort foods but my favorite is just a simple bowl of buttery mashed potato or failing that, creamy chicken soup. I love to do this when I just want to shut out the world and have my own company. I light the candles, play some nice music or watch a good film curled up on the sofa with my comfort food treat. It never fails to raise my spirits and it’s a great way to unwind and gather my thoughts.
The reason why food can only help and not cure stress, depression or anxiety is because food doesn’t cause these problems. If you’re depressed for example, changing to a healthy diet won’t cure you because it isn’t as simple as that. To permanently conquer stress, depression and anxiety, the root cause has to be addressed. Diet can help, but only if it is part of a complete program that addresses all of the issues, especially the root cause.
Former anxiety sufferer Chris Green is the author of “Conquering Stress”, the internationally acclaimed program which will help you to permanently conquer stress, depression and anxiety without taking powerful drugs. For more information please visit his website.
Copyright © Chris Green. All rights reserved; printed here with permission.
Green, C. (2006). Stress And Diet: You Aren’t What You Eat. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 27, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/stress-and-diet-you-arent-what-you-eat/000155
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jan 2013
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.