World Health Day is celebrated annually on the 7th of April to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO). Each year focuses on a specific theme with campaigns and initiatives to raise awareness related to a particular health issue that affects people across the world. Some of the themes from previous years include: Beat Diabetes, Ageing and Health, Healthy Blood Pressure, Food Safety and many more.
The theme for World Health Day 2017 is “Depression: Let’s talk”. Depression is a mental disorder that can happen to anyone. The latest report from WHO reveals that it is now considered a major challenge to health, with over 300 million people estimated to suffer from depression, equivalent to 4.4 per cent of the world’s population. Its effects can be devastating to those who suffer from it, thus it is crucial that depression be prevented.
While there is no specific diet that has been proven to relieve depression, there are certainly some foods to include in your diet that will secrete happy hormones. Here are the top foods that banish away blues and help uplift your mood:
The pretty sight of a bowl of strawberries, blackberries and raspberries itself is uplifting. A study published in the Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine showed that those who were treated with anti-oxidants had a lower depression score.
2. Green Leafy Vegetables
Remember your greens! Whether it’s broccoli in the salad, spinach in omelettes, or lettuce wraps, the anti-oxidants in greens help in fighting free radicals and reducing inflammation, which is the main cause of cell damage and many diseases. A new study also revealed that brain inflammation is a driver of clinical depression.
3. Lean Protein
Healthy low fat meat options such as fish, turkey, tuna and chicken contain an amino acid called tryptophan, which helps in producing serotonin (the famous happy hormone!)
4. Dairy Products
There’s a reason why we’ve always been told to have a cup of milk before we sleep – the high tryptophan levels will put you in a calm mood and induce sleep.
5. Beans & Legumes
Studies have shown that adequate consumption of the mineral Selenium enhances the mood and energy levels. Other foods high in Selenium include: Brazilian nuts, sardines, halibut, chicken, liver, eggs and spinach.
6. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Not only does fish boosts brain health, but recent studies have shown that people who consumed fish are at less risk of depression! Include them at least twice a week as part of a healthy diet. Good sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids are fish (eg: Salmon), flaxseeds, canola oil, walnut and dark leafy greens.
To sum it up, a nutritious diet and a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity are keys to enhancing the mood and boosting daily performance and productivity, leading to wellness in mind, body and spirit!
Call 800-Healthy to book an appointment with one of Right Bite licensed dietitians to kick start your health plan.