Healthy Emotional Eating

Do you ever soothe yourself with food after a hard day? Usually we think of emotional eating as turning to unhealthy comfort food when we are upset. But you can attend to your mood by making healthy eating choices. With a few yummy substitutions in your snack drawer, you can improve your psychological and physical health.

Blood sugar fluctuations can be associated with moodiness. Stabilize yourself emotionally while managing your weight by eating healthy snacks in between smaller meals. For example, you might consider putting a baggie of nuts and dark chocolate chips into your purse or desk drawer to keep yourself consistently fueled and emotionally even. Dark chocolate seems to improve mood by boosting endorphins.

If you struggle with clinical depression or anxiety, then healthy eating is even more important. While the relationship between nutrition and emotion is complex and each person’s situation is unique, studies show that specific foods and eating approaches can be used as part of an effective psychological treatment plan. A recent controlled clinical study showed that a modified Mediterranean diet significantly improved depression. Among other things, this eating approach includes Omega-3 fatty acids, which have a demonstrated anti-depressant impact. There are lots of ways to bring more Omega-3s into your diet, including eating walnuts, fatty fish, such as salmon, or greens, like kale and spinach. Another reason to eat your greens is that they are generally high in folate, a lack of which is associated with depression and anxiety. Usually, it is better to get these nutrients in your food rather than by taking dietary supplements. To help you enjoy these healthy options, look for new preparations when you are dining out or research well-seasoned recipes online. Healthy emotional eating should be delicious so that you’ll stick with it.

By embracing these and other healthy emotional eating strategies, you will not only improve your mood, but your long-term physical and cognitive health will benefit as well. As the saying goes: you are what you eat. Prioritize healthy delicious food to keep yourself sharp, vigorous and joyful!

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