2/1/20: Changing How We Feel by Changing What We Eat
I recently “attended” a webinar with the above title. It was presented by Dr. Lisa Goehler, who is a neuroscientist. As I mentioned in my last newsletter article, a Mediterranean diet can help with preventing heart disease and cancer, but also with preventing depression. In her seminar, Dr. Goehler also discussed how diet can affect anxiety, sleep, and appetite, in addition to depression. She also implicated a highly inflammatory diet with fatigue, cognitive “fuzziness”, pain, gastrointestinal problems and some chronic diseases such as diabetes and autoimmune diseases. Chronic stress can also lead to inflammation and can be affected by diet as well. She suggested using techniques to manage stress such as exercise and meditation. She also suggested limiting foods which are highly inflammatory, such as processed meats, refined carbohydrates and sugar, and fatty foods. The Mediterranean diet is mostly plant-based, with fresh vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and poultry or fish a couple of times a week. One to two glasses of red wine are enjoyed daily but sweets are only for treats. Specific foods which may help decrease inflammation include citrus fruits, berries, legumes, apples, soy, tea, red wine, garlic and foods in the onion family, walnuts, fish and other foods that contain omega-3 fats, such as chia, hemp and flax seeds, and kale and other green leafy vegetables. In addition, the spices turmeric and ginger seem to help fight inflammation.