Many frown upon snacking, and relate it to becoming overweight. However, if done in a healthy way, snacking between meals can be beneficial for your physical, and just as importantly, your mental health!
In fact, much evidence has shown that healthy snacks can enhance your mood, as well as lower anxiety, which can in turn lower levels of depression. Snacks have also been shown to decrease the likelihood of depressive symptoms developing. Check out Snacking Healthy: How You Can Lift Depression with these 5 Tips!
1. Snack Healthily
Try snacking without carbs – carbs have been associated with depression levels. Avoid processed foods, whole foods have consistently been shown to be important for positive mental health maintenance. Also make sure to include vitamins and minerals in your snacking, as we often do not get enough of these in our meals.
Antioxidants are also important in regulating mood – these are found in bright coloured fruit and vegetable foods. If you fancy toast as a snack, for example, add some bright red tomatoes! Vitamin B deficiency has also been linked with depression, so you could have some kale crisps instead of potato crisps – a lower carb choice.
2. Avoid Social Media as You Snack
The food choices you make for snack time are not the only thing important in lowering depression levels. While you eat your snack, do not look at the news, or your social media feed!
There is far too much research to ignore showing a link between social media use and depression, so whilst you’re snacking, don’t touch that phone or computer! If you are able to steer your mind toward positive, uplifting audios or TED X seminar videos, that’s fine. (Just make sure it’s not that ragtag social media news feed garbage – we’ve got our eye on you!)
Jokes aside, try to focus on the good you are doing for your mind and body by taking time to find and eat a healthy snack instead.
3. Do Not Over Snack!
As with anything, we can snack too much. Food scientists recommend you base your snacking frequency on the amount of physical exercise you do in your day.
Be careful not to rely on unhealthy foods to change your mood. This may sound obvious, but most humans unknowingly eat emotionally. This is something you definitely want to avoid, as eating is best when it takes place in response to your body’s internal cues – like a feeling of hunger.
We can train ourselves not to snack as a reaction to stress, which is a much healthier relationship for us to have with food.
Very importantly, drink water after your snack. Though it is not always the best idea to drink water whilst you snack, since this can lower digestion, you must remember to keep hydrated throughout the day as well as intelligent snacking to keep your mood up. After all, mild to severe hydration is also related to increased depressive symptoms. After you have had a snack, finish with a large glass of water!
Dark chocolate has been shown to boost our mood too, as long as we’re moderate in our consumption of it! What do you make of these snacking tips? It is really easy to snack in a healthy way to benefit both your body and mind. Remember not to be too hard on yourself if you have a favourite snack indulgence every once in a while.
Let us know what you think of these snacking ideas and please share your favourite depression-busting healthy snacks in the comments below and join in the conversation on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!