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Eating to Beat the Blues

Eating to Beat the Blues

Our kids always liked passages like this when they weren’t feeling well -- and there’s a lesson in it for you too! In Winnie the Pooh, gloomy Eeyore tries to push aside depression: "It's snowing still," he says gloomily. "So it is,” answers Pooh. "And freezing." "Is it?" (Pooh again.)

“Yes," says Eeyore. "However… we haven't had an earthquake lately."

If that doesn’t bring a smile to your face, head to the kitchen for some comfort food, but choose wisely. If you’re feeling blue, go for great-tasting, fresh food and here’s why. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that eating inflammation-producing refined carbs and sugary foods can make you flat out depressed.

Looking at data about added and total sugars consumed by around 70,000 women, researchers discovered those who ate high-glycemic index (GI) diets increased their risk of depression 22%. The GI ranks foods by how fast they convert to sugar in your blood stream from 1 (lowest/slowest) to 100 (highest/fastest). Foods with the highest GI include white bread, instant oatmeal, short grain white rice -- you get the idea. In general, processing and cooking style ups the GI. Juice is way higher than fresh fruit; mashed potatoes higher than baked; and soft cooked pasta higher than al dente.

Study participants who ate the most fiber, non-juice fruits, and vegetables had a much lower risk of depression. So dig into 100% whole grain cereal topped with fresh berries and walnut halves and a dollop of nonfat Greek yogurt. That’s happy food!

Medically reviewed in November 2019.

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