Food For Thought
By: Alicia Alvarez
When things get rough, whether it’s related to academics, personal life or current events, you’re brain needs energy to stay resilient and make you feel good. One of the ways it is able to do this is through the food and drinks you consume. The vitamins and nutrients found in certain foods can give your brain the strength it needs to combat against the mental toll that everyday life can bring at times. For those with depression, it may be especially important to fuel one’s body with foods that are nutritious and make you feel good. Some studies have even found that over-time high sugar diets may worsen symptoms of depression, This isn’t to say that you can’t enjoy a slice of chocolate cake or an In-N-Out burger here and there, but it may be useful to be mindful of which foods have the power to make you feel better than others. Below, I have broken down the ways in which food can fuel or often hinder your body from feeling the best it can.
Below are some foods that can help give you back the strength you need:
- Fish is a huge source of Omega-3, a fatty acid that can increase serotonin production and improvement of mood.
- Nuts are also a source of Omega-3. In a study conducted by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, adults who ate nuts have higher levels of optimism, energy, hope, concentration, and greater interest in activities.
- Beans can help maintain stable and consistent blood sugar
- Vegetables, especially dark leafy greens, can help with mood improvement and stabilization
- Water isn’t just good for physical health, it’s just as important for your mental health! - Make sure to stay hydrated and keep drinking that H2O.
Comfort Food Facts
-- Sugar, especially added sugars, can often impact your mood so be mindful of your intake. But also, don’t make yourself feel guilty about eating that scoop of ice cream, we all need to indulge sometimes!
- Alcohol can sometimes feel like a good option after a long week of work and/or school, however, it’s important to remember that alcohol is a depressant and can actually make you feel worse. If an alcoholic drink is sugary, it can also impact your mood and elevate your blood sugar levels.
- Before you pour yourself a fourth cup of coffee, be cautious to the fact that caffeine often leads to your body crashing at the end of the day. Coffee in moderation can be helpful or an alternative to caffeine that has antioxidant benefits, such as green tea.
Hopefully some of these suggestions can be implemented in your everyday life and fuel your brain to combat depression or other personal struggles you may have. At the end of the day, it’s your body and your decision of what you want to eat. Don’t feel pressured to stick to a rigid and restrictive way of eating, just be mindful of what makes your body feel good and what makes your body not.
P.S.: We recognize that access to such foods may be difficult depending on ones financial and living situation, here are a list of resources that may help:
- Dean of Students Slug Support Pantry: (Winter 2020 Hours: Tues & Wed 3 - 7:30 PM, Thurs 10:30 AM - 2:30 PM, Sat 1 - 5 PM Next to the Cowell Coffee Shop, that is located next to the Cowell/Stevenson Dining Hall)
- SUA Food Pantry & Lounge: (Hours: Every day 12PM - 6PM at OPERS Front Office (by the pool))
- ERC Snack Pantry: (Mon-Fri 9AM - 4PM at the Ethnic Resource Centers, Third floor of Bay Tree Building)
- Cantu Queer Center Food Pantry: (Mon-Fri 9AM-5PM at The Cantú, behind Merrill College & next to KZSC)
- Slug Support