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Health Hack with @amysfitnessandnutrition

Do you believe there is such a thing?

Photo Credit - Julia Gray Photography

It’s a curious thing. Many of us know that when we eat poorly we don’t feel well and vice-versa, but very few of us actually connect food with mental health and think about this on a regular basis. But thinking logically, saying that the fuel and structure of our brain don’t matter for mental health is like saying engineering doesn’t matter in a car.

An Antidepressant Food Score? Surely Not

Not only has a recent study confirmed certain nutrients' role in both the prevention and the recovery from depression and related mental health disorders, but they have even scored the top foods based on the nutrients they contain. The American-based Antidepressant Food Score (AFS) is the first study to profiling nutrients in regard to mental health – a hugely understudied area of human health.

Photo Credit - Julia Gray Photography

What are the nutrients we are after?

Folate, Iron, Long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA & DHA), Magnesium, Potassium, Selenium, Thiamin, Vitamin A, B6, B12, C, Zinc. Now let’s look at this in plain English and where we find them. Below are a few you might find locally.

Where do we find them?

In Animals

- Oysters

- Liver and organ meats (spleen, kidneys, or heart)

- Poultry giblets

- Clams

- Mussels

- Octopus

- Crab

- Goat

- Tuna

- Rainbow trout

- Lobster

In Plants

- Watercress

- Spinach

- Mustard, turnip, or beet greens

- Lettuces (red, green, romaine)

- Swiss chard

- Fresh Herbs (cilantro, basil, or parsley)

- Broccoli

- Cauliflower

- Peppers (bell, serrano, or jalapeno)

Wintery Goat Curry with Cauliflower Rice anyone?!

Photo Credit - Julia Gray Photography

Doctors Are Still Important

With a growing pandemic of depression and anxiety-related illnesses in New Zealand and across the world, food can’t be a bad place to start, but it goes without saying that there are a huge number of factors that go into illnesses as complex as depression. There is no doubt that it is still a good idea to seek proper medical advice if you have any concerns.

If anyone wants to take a deeper dive visit: LaChance & Ramsey (2018) World Journal of Psychiatry. Antidepressant foods: An evidence-based nutrient profiling system for depression 10.5498/wjp.v8.i3.97

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