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As a domestic violence survivor, you may be dealing with feelings of anxiety, sadness and frustration, among others. While food isn’t the answer to all your problems, certain foods can actually boost your mood. Here are five to try:
Fish. Omega-3 fatty acids, present in some types of fish, have been found to be beneficial in helping treat mild to moderate depression, according to the Mayo Clinic. Experts recommend incorporating fish into your diet at least a few times per week. The varieties with the most omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, sardines, herring, trout and albacore tuna. If you are pregnant or concerned about mercury levels, talk to your doctor about taking a fish oil supplement, which offers the benefits of eating fish without the mercury.
Chamomile tea. In addition to being a soothing hot beverage, chamomile is rich in a flavonoid called apigenin, a proven mood-enhancer.
Spinach. There are many health benefits to eating dark green, leafy vegetables, and one of them is increased serotonin production. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for mood regulation. A serotonin deficiency can lead to depression, but folate (a B vitamin) helps facilitate serotonin production in the gastrointestinal tract. Folate can be found in green, leafy vegetables such as spinach as well as dried beans and peas, and citrus fruits and juices. The best part? Folate is a water-soluble vitamin, which means your body will discard any unused folate in the urine, so you never have to worry about getting too much in your diet.
Clams. Another B vitamin, B12 also affects mood. It has been shown to positively affect depression, and has the added benefit of increasing energy. Vitamin B12 is found in its highest concentrations in clams and beef liver, but if those options aren’t to your liking, try fish, poultry, meat, eggs and dairy products. Some cereals and other products are fortified with vitamin B12 as well, so check the labels when shopping to get yours.
Water. You know hunger can alter your mood, but did you know dehydration can too? It’s true. Studies show that even mild dehydration can lead to decreased cognitive abilities, headaches and diminished mood, particularly in females. The key to staying properly hydrated is to sip water throughout the day; don’t wait until you’re parched.
A healthy diet is only part of the puzzle that is taking care of yourself. It can’t replace cognitive therapy or medication. Talk to your doctor if you think you are depressed. Learn more by reading about “The Signs of Depression.”
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