Health and fitness

5 best foods that beat the blues

Have you been feeling down lately? Here are healthy foods to help you fight off the blues and protect your mental wellbeing.

By Leah C. Eriguel

While it’s normal to feel low when challenges happen in our lives, there are many factors that contribute to depression. However, we often overlook the role that healthy food plays and how it can help us boost our emotions.

Dr. Shawn Talbot, a nutritional biochemist and author of Vigor: 7 Days to Unlimited Energy, Focus and Wellbeing, says that diet plays a huge role in fighting off depression. She also says that eating better foods like lean proteins, whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables and fish gives us higher energy levels.

Here are 5 good-mood foods to beat the blues.

1. Bananas

Bananas are abundant in the country—and we have so many varieties! Did you know that cavendish is the most grown variety in the Philippines, “accounting for 53% of all bananas, followed by saba (28%) and lakatan (10%)?”  Cavendish is also our biggest banana export.

Bananas could be the world’s best brain food that puts us in a great mood as well because they are high in compounds that help release serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical created by the body that helps prevent depression and provide pleasure feelings. Another “happy” nutrient found in bananas is magnesium, which the brain needs to fight stress.

2. Bell peppers

Among healthy foods that are depression fighters are brightly colored bell peppers because they are a rich source of folate and Vitamin B6. Get these colorful peppers on your plate to help you achieve emotional and physical wellbeing. According to laboratory studies performed on mammals, capsaicin, an alkaloid compound found in bell peppers, has pain-relieving properties.

3. Tomatoes

Are you feeling blah? Have a salad with lots of fresh tomatoes. This happy fruit contains loads of folic acid and alpha-lipoic acid, which are great for getting rid of the blues, as well as potassium, vitamins B and E, and other nutrients. Studies show that folate deficiency is common in patients with depression. Alpha-lipoic acid helps the body convert glucose to energy, thus helping stabilize one’s mood. They also help protect your cells from damage.

4. Fatty fish

There are studies in adults that suggest omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. The stars of the fatty fish category are mackerel, bluefish, wild salmon and tuna. The fatty acids found in these fish contain brain-boosting properties that fight depression and help your mental wellbeing. As a bonus, they also help to improve circulation and reduce the risk of heart disease.

5. Low-fat dairy products

Fight the blues with skim milk, low-fat cheeses, and yogurt. These are just some of the low-fat dairy products rich in calcium, vitamin D and protein, which are great for your physical and mental wellbeing for numerous reasons including beating depression. Talbot says low-fat dairy is the richest dietary source of two powerhouse nutrients—calcium and vitamin D—both of which bring about a sense of wellbeing and relaxation. 

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