Six lifestyle tips for balancing your mood and reducing anxiety or depression

Reducing anxiety or depression can be done naturally. There are foods, as well as lifestyle habits, that can help balance the mood and keep you feeling happy and healthy. Nutritional Health Counselor Sara Siskind lists six of these foods and habits:

  1. Load up on antioxidants – Diets rich in vegetables and fruits are good sources of antioxidants. These are natural substances that prevent cell damage. Siskind recommends foods that are rich in beta-carotene, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, kale, citrus fruits, red pepper, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, avocados, and nuts. Having these in your meals will maximize and support brain function.
  2. Drink purified water – Clean water is cleansing to the body, mind, and soul. Mild dehydration may put you in a bad mood. Always keep a jug of water ready to keep yourself hydrated.
  3. Eat foods rich in magnesium – This mineral helps keep the body and central nervous system relaxed. A deficiency in magnesium may cause anxious feelings. Pistachio nuts are a good example of a tasty snack rich in magnesium. Other natural sources of magnesium to include in a diet are dark leafy greens, eggs, legumes, and avocados.
  4. Exercise daily – Working out not only burns calories, but the stress of the day seems to come out of your body together with all that sweat. Countless studies have proven that our bodies release chemicals called endorphin that naturally trigger a positive feeling in the body. Exercise not only lifts your mood but also strengthens muscles and bones, and helps with circulation and heart health. Siskind recommends exercising in the morning to feel the endorphins throughout the day.
  5. Eat small meals throughout the day – Eating smaller, frequent meals gives a feeling of general satisfaction throughout the day. Siskind recommends eating meals every two to three hours for a 12-hour period during the day. Doing this will help keep blood sugar levels steady and maintain energy.
  6. Include a variety of foods in your meals – Eating different kinds of foods not only ensures that you have all the proper nutrients to calm your mind, but it also keeps things diverse and interesting. Siskind said it is important to not skip complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal, quinoa, peas, lentils, brown rice and sweet potatoes (to name a few), as these are an important part of a balanced diet. (Related: Quinoa nutrition – why quinoa can help you lose weight and improve your health.)

Quick facts about anxiety and depression

Anxiety and depression cases have been rising in recent years, not just in adults but also in teenagers and children. According to the World Health Organization, the number of people suffering from depression and/or anxiety increased by nearly 50 percent between 1990 and 2013 – from 416 million to 615 million. Common mental disorders account for 30 percent of non-fatal disease burden globally, and have affected close to 10 percent of the world’s population.

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