Lupus can put anyone in a bad mood, it’s hard to be in a good mood all the time when you’re dealing with lupus symptoms like lupus malar rash, joint or muscle pain, and fatigue. Lupus can also independently affect your mood, cause depression, anxiety and the dreaded lupus brain fog!!! Besides following up with your doctors, you can also improve your mood with diet and lifestyle!
Food choices do affect our energy, weight, digestion, reaction to stress and even mood!
Deficiencies in vitamins and minerals can lead to mood changes, depression and anxiety. Eating certain foods can help maintain brain health, regulate mood, and produce chemicals called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine work in the brain to transmit information, stabilize mood, and prevent depression.
What can you eat to boost your mood?
Look for Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Too little omega 3’s in your diet is associated with mood swings, depression, anxiety and increased risk for dementia and Alzheimer disease!!! Boost your mood and protect your long term brain health by consuming fish oil, fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, and anchovies), avocados, ground flaxseed, and nuts, particularly walnuts. Fatty fish, ground flaxseed and nuts are also a great source of protein, keep reading for another benefit of high quality proteins.
Eat more B vitamins
The B vitamins, like folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12, are essential in the production of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a feel-good hormone that helps reduce levels of depression and anxiety. You can find B vitamins in protein containing foods like legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas), nuts, and fish as well as dark green leafy veg
It’s especially important to get enough B12, as our absorption declines with increasing age. B12 deficiency is common amongst those 65+ years old. Great sources of B12 include shellfish, poultry, low-fat dairy, eggs and nutritional yeast.
Fresh is Best ;)
Seek out fresh (or frozen) vegetables and fruits for antioxidants. Antioxidants can prevent cell damage, dysfunction and aging from free radicals. Free radicals are particularly damaging in the brain. Increased antioxidant intake can help reduce anxiety by reducing cortisol levels (cortisol is a stress hormone).
Foods high in antioxidants include berries, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, dark chocolate and nuts and seeds.
Decrease your added sugar intake
A recent study from the National Institutes of Health found that people who drank more than 4 cups of soda per day were 30% more likely to be depressed than people that did not drink soda.
Consuming a lot of added sugars can cause an sugar and energy high followed by a sugar, energy and mood crash.
Try flavored seltzers, infused waters, or any type of tea instead of soda or juice. Check out my last blog post on how to reduce your sugar intake!
What else helps your brain?
Choose unprocessed foods rather than ultra-processed foods
Be careful with alcohol and caffeine - excess intake can increase anxiety and negatively affect brain health
Get enough sleep! Adequate sleep allows your brain to properly recuperate, and can reduce your anxiety and stress!
If you're ready to make changes, reach out to schedule a FREE meet and greet call, don't wait to feel your best!
xoxo, The Lupus Dietitian