Healthful Food Improves Mood

I write about healthful eating in the spirit of motivating readers to feel good.

With so much stress in life it’s nice to know that simply changing what you eat can reduce anxiety and depression.

The benefits of healthful eating extend to a person’s mood not only their waistline.

A 2010 study “found that women who ate diets high in vegetables, fruit, fish and whole grains with moderate amounts of red meat were less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety disorders than those who followed a typical Western diet: processed foods, pizza, fast food, white flour and sugary sodas and other sweet beverages.”

This according to research by Felice Jacka, PhD reported on in the TIME magazine special edition The Science of Nutrition.

The role of nutrition in mental health has seen the trend in Nutritional Psychiatry to focus on how food impacts mood.

The ideal “diet” might be the Mediterranean diet: “rich in vegetables, salads, fruits and legumes–such as chickpeas, lentils and tofu; whole grains and raw nuts; fish and lean red meats; and healthy fats like olive oil.””

Step away from the 700-calorie frozen meals passed off as Lean or Smart.

Pick up a frying pan and saute vegetables instead.

I’m constantly baffled by the pseudo-healthful behaviors women engage in to try to lose weight.

Not once did I go on a “diet” and I lost 20 pounds and kept off the weight. I’m 55 and I weigh 115 pounds–the same as when I was 29.

Pick up a dumbbell. Put down the diet books. In the May issue of Harper’s Bazaar an article talked about weight loss: it’s not a “one-and-done” activity.

You need to keep up these healthy habits for the rest of your life. Not just while you’re trying to lose weight.

Again I’ll refer you to the books Atomic Habits and Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions.

Alas, nothing worth having comes without effort.

No one wants to hear that it will take permanent effort to maintain weight loss.

Yet my life experiences are the living proof: I lift weights 2x per week for 30 to 45 minutes in each session. And I cook my own healthful dinners 5x per week.

My father had Stage 3 colon cancer that spread to his liver.

This accounts for my commitment to healthful eating.

You can live to be 81 like my father did. Yet if you’re in ill health how will you be able to enjoy your long life?

More about my typical eating plan in coming blog entries. With a few of my favoriteĀ  recipes I like to cook for dinner.

 

Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and athlete.

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