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Sometimes when you’re struggling with stress, anxiety and depression, all you want to do is make the pain go away with cookies, ice cream, chocolate and hamburgers. However, in the back of your mind you know that eating unhealthy food will only make you feel worse. Fortunately some health experts have some ideas for snacks that will leave you satisfied and won’t harm your health.
Trudy Scott, a food mood expert, certified nutritionist and president of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals, said in an email that eating consistent meals is essential for women with depression and anxiety.
“It’s often crucial to keep blood sugar levels even, and the best way to do this is to eat three meals (including breakfast) and two, maybe even three healthy snacks a day,” Scott said.
Some snacks she suggests for women with depression and anxiety include fresh fruit, a boiled egg, grass-fed beef jerky, raw baby carrots, ornamental green/yellow/red peppers, hummus, a chicken drumstick or wing, cans of sardines, oysters, salmon and pumpkin seeds.
“Pumpkin seeds are a great source of tryptophan and zinc, both of which help improve mood,” Scott said.
Dr. Nicole Farmer, a fellow in integrative medicine at Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, said in an email that she encourages women to eat almonds, pineapple slices and chia seed bars.
“Almonds are filled with healthy fats and fiber,” Farmer said. “They are also packed with magnesium, which not only helps to convert carbs into energy, but magnesium also has an anti-depressant effect.”
Pineapple also has certain health benefits.
“Pineapple packs a good amount of carbs but also has enough fiber and nutrients to help prevent a sugar-induced crash,” Farmer said. “Pineapples are also a great source of thiamine. Thiamine has been found in research studies to have a positive association with women reporting feeling more energetic and [having] a better mood.”
Chia seeds might seem like an unusual choice, but she proposes that they also have an anti-depressant effect. The bars are also made with amaranth, a type of grain.