You Feel What You Eat

Forwarded to me by a colleague:

You Feel What You Eat
Certain Foods May Have Direct Impact on Emotional State
(ABC News, March 5, 2008)

To cut to the chase, the Good:

  • salmon (omega-3 fatty acids)
  • milk (calcium and tryptophans)
  • coffee (caffeine), before noon and only 1 or 2 cups
  • chocolate, preferably dark (polyphenols and phenylethylamines)
  • brazil nuts (selenium plus B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc)
  • whey (tryptophan)
  • spinach (magnesium and folic acid)
  • comfort foods (good in moderation but need to be careful)

And the Bad:

  • alcohol – red wine OK in small amounts but not spirits
  • fast food (high fat, high sugar, can cause imbalance between omega-6s and omega-3s)

What did I learn as a result of all of this? Primarily that ricotta (a) is made from whey (and thus is Good) and (b) is not technically a cheese. Who knew?!

Another recent ABC News article related to the topic of moods is the March 4, 2008, essay by Dr. James Potash, Report Card on Antidepressants.

“A study released last week reported that depressed patients put on antidepressants get better at only a slightly higher rate than those treated with a placebo, which is essentially a sugar pill. “

Dr. Potash makes the comment that “Antidepressants showed a significant advantage over placebos for the severely depressed patients but not for the mildly and moderately depressed patients.” That makes sense to me, from my own experiences. I’ve had problems with clinical depression since I was about 16 years old. When I finally broke down and asked for medication (Paxil), I was in desperate need of something to take the edge off, to stop the incessant crying jags. Paxil did what I needed it to but once I was comfortably down into the moderate to light depression stage, the problems of the side effects outweighed any chemical benefit I was getting and I quit cold turkey (not advisable, by the way — it wasn’t a fun two months). I haven’t “needed” Paxil since. It’s not as though I’m cured. The depression is there, lurking, but it’s like living with diabetes or some other health concern — you learn to live with it; it becomes a part of your lifestyle.

Take now, for example. It would be so easy to give in and just wallow in despair. But I’m finally appreciating just how unproductive that is. Took me decades to really see. Most days I’m just managing “neutral” but that’s a huge leap ahead of the negativity I would normally be trapped in.

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