by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghJuly 31, 2018 food for anxiety, food for depression, food for mood0 comments
28 Foods to Decrease Anxiety and Depression and Enhance Positive Moods
Food & Mood Series by Liz Mckinney, CNS, Board Certified Nutritionist
“It is both compelling and daunting to consider that dietary intervention at an individual or population level could reduce rates of psychiatric disorders. There are exciting implications for clinical care, public health, and research” – editorial in the American Journal of Psychiatry https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2009.09060881
Mood imbalances like depression and anxiety are on the rise in the U.S. In 2016, the National Institute for Mental Health estimated that 16.2 million Americans have experienced at least one major depressive episode and 42 million have an anxiety disorder of some kind. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml Additionally, depression is the leading cause of disability globally. Traditionally, depression and anxiety are viewed as being caused by chemical imbalances, due to under production of our feel good neurotransmitters like dopamine, GABA, and serotonin. Lets explore how food is related to emotional health and how we can put ourselves at risk for developing anxiety or depression with our diet, as well as the good news of how diet can increase of mood, energy, and all around wellness.
So what factors contribute to a drop in the production of neurotransmitters? Biologically, this question has a multi-tiered answer. First, genetics and epigenetics (namely, how our environmental exposures affect which of our genes become activated) certainly play a role in a person’s proclivity towards depression and anxiety. For example, a common genetic mutation called MTHFR has a big impact in how we activate the B vitamin folate in our cells. Those with this genetic mutation are more prone to depression because of folate’s role in making serotonin. But, we know that our genetics don’t tell the whole story. The second factor influencing the expression of our genes, are our mental and emotional stressors or triggers, this is the part that can be effected by our social supports and reduced with therapy. Social factors and cognitive perceptions contribute significantly to the onset of these common mood disorders.
The Standard American Diet, which is low in fiber, healthy fats and protein and packed full of cheap, convenient sugar laden foods means we have less of the amino acid building blocks we need to make GABA, serotonin, and dopamine. A second issue to consider is that poor gut health is directly linked to worsened mood disorders thanks to the two-way gut-brain connection. Intake of processed snack foods packed with sugar, flour, and trans fat are like pouring gasoline on the fire and promote overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria and yeast in our gut where up to 80% of our body’s serotonin is produced. Eating poor quality proteins or simply not enough further compound the issue because proteins are the building blocks for these important compounds that keep our moods stable. Grain fed, factory farmed eggs and meats and genetically modified crops are not only loaded with toxins and pesticides that alter our microbiomes, they serve to ramp up that low grade chronic inflammation. Finally, fiber intake has never been lower thanks to the standard American diet. Fiber rich foods serve as probiotics that feed the beneficial bacteria in our large intestine. Without fuel, the good “bugs” are more likely to die off, leaving room for the pathogenic species to flourish. Our bacteria send signals to our brains, so we want our good bacteria to dominate and send signals that promote brain health, not cause further chemical imbalances and inflammation.
Now time for the empowering news! The food we eat can also improve mood, and decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety. Food can be a kind of internal therapy, by nourishing organs, healing of stomach linings and then increasing energy and brain health, they have a huge impact on decreasing ones susceptibility to relapsing from mental health disorders.
- High quality proteins
- Cage-free Eggs
- Grass-fed Beef and
- Chicken raised without growth hormones or antibiotics.
Vegan or vegetarian
- Non-GMO soy
- Vegetable proteins like legumes, pea chia, or hemp.
- Fermented foods like kefir, kombucha, or sauerkraut which contain live organisms that populate the microbiome with beneficial bacteria.
The above mentioned foods promote emotional and physical health by keeping the gut happy and healthy. As a word of caution, avoid processed, packaged snack foods at all costs and focus on whole, unprocessed foods like promote a good mood. Here are some more delicious options to add to your daily diet that calm inflammation and support mood:
- Dark Chocolate (70% or darker)
- Vitamin B rich foods – eggs, raw dairy, grass fed beef, and organic chicken and turkey, leafy greens like kale or Swiss chard, and bananas
- Red, Purple, and Blue Berries – Contain Vitamin C and other antioxidants
- Omega 3s – wild caught fatty fish (2 servings weekly), walnuts and flax seed
- Coconut oil
As a final note, understanding mood disorders is complex and the underlying factors multi-tiered. Everyone is unique and requires and individualized approach that takes into account genetics and epigenetics, mental and emotional health and diet and lifestyle. When all three are addressed, we are better able to address mood disorders and provide the best outcomes. If you want to learn more about health enhancing diets and what foods can support emotional and physical health, meet with a board certified and licensed nutritionist, our nutritionist, Liz Mckinney, CNS accepts Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance as well as self paying clients.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghJanuary 22, 2018 Certified Nutritionist, counseling, Emotional Health, integrative health, integrative medicine, mindfulness, Nutrition Counseling, Nutritionist, wellness0 comments
What is Nutrition Counseling? Liz Mckinney, Certified Nutrition Counselor in Pittsburgh and Monroeville explains a little bit about how this works to enhance your health and wellness.
What to expect:
- One on one individualized nutrition counseling based on your goals and health complaints
- Detailed analysis
- Goal setting, coaching and working through barriers to change
- A clear cut program including diet, lifestyle and supplement therapy specific to your needs
- Existing lab report analysis and/or future recommended lab work either through a third party lab or through your primary health care provider
- Email support as needed between sessions
In your first session, we will:
- Go over your client intake form and three day diet diary
- Discuss your primary goals and current barriers to change
- Complete a nutrition focused physical exam
- Analyze any existing lab work you’ve had completed within the last year
- Set a program for you consisting of dietary, lifestyle and supplement therapy
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghJanuary 9, 2018 Certified Nutritionist, dietitian, Emotional Health, integrative health, integrative medicine, Nutrition Counseling, Nutritionist, registered dietitian, registered licensed dietitian, wellness pittsburgh0 comments
Jessica DeGore RD LDN CDE CHWC is a licensed dietitian/nutritionist and wellness coach. She will be seeing clients at the Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh in both the North Side and Wexford’s locations. Jessica is here to help clients achieve their health and wellness goals by providing nutrition counseling and coaching. Nutrition is not one size fits all, so she takes an individualized approach to help clients find a balanced diet and healthy relationship with food. Jessica earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Nutrition Sciences at Pennsylvania State University. After her undergraduate studies, she completed her ACEND-accredited Dietetic Internship at University of Maryland. The internship included 1,200 hours of supervised practice, as well as additional nutrition coursework. During this time, she also obtained a Graduate Certificate in dietetics. After passing the national board registration examination, she became a Registered Dietitian in 2010. Jessica decided to pursue a career that would allow her to gain a broad spectrum of skills and experience by providing nutrition education counseling in various settings, including acute care, long-term rehabilitation hospitals, and outpatient clinics.
In addition to yearly continuing education to maintain licensure, Jessica became a Certified Health and Wellness Coach through Wellcoaches® to expand her counseling skills. Wellcoaches® is an 18-week course designed for credentialed health professionals who wish to use coaching skills in working with clients to improve their health and wellbeing. The curriculum includes applying self-determination theory and motivational interviewing techniques to help clients uncover autonomous motivation, elicit mindful self-awareness, and develop self-efficacy to meet their goals.
She also recently became a Certified Diabetes Educator to help people with diabetes obtain positive outcomes through self-management. By becoming board certified in diabetes she offers a standard of excellence in the delivery of quality diabetes education. In her diabetes education work over the past two years she was able to lower HgA1c by an average of 1-2% over a twelve-month period. She also demonstrated significant improvement in other clinical outcomes such as blood pressure and lipids.
Jessica also specializes in disordered eating and sports nutrition. After working with an endurance coaching company to offer evidence-based recommendations to help clients properly fuel their bodies, she found many athletes lacked a healthy relationship with food. She discovered and adopted an intuitive eating approach to help guide her clients to find a healthy balance between eating and exercise. Her nutrition philosophy is that true health comes from cultivating behaviors to enhance physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing- it is not a specific size or weight. As a true non-diet dietitian, she wants to help create a balanced relationship between body and mind through food freedom. Jessica also provides educational presentations, nutrition consulting for brands and businesses, cooking demos, and recipe development.
After living in Philadelphia, the past six years, Jess returned to Pittsburgh, her hometown, in 2017 to be closer to her family. She lives in the North Hills with her husband. Her passion for overall health has also led to a huge commitment to fitness. She is both a triathlete and runner, tackling a Half Ironman and marathon distance races again this year. Jessica also enjoys traveling and exploring the local foodie scene. Jessica is a regular contributor for The Counseling and Wellness Center’s Blog and additionally she also enjoys blogging and providing nutrition tips at https://www.dietitianjess.com She enjoys sharing her adventures in eating and connecting with others on Instagram @dietitianjess.
Jessica welcomes clients of all ages, sizes, and levels of motivation. Nutrition is such an important component to healthy living, and she wants to help clients find complete wellness by empowering individuals to meet their goals.
For an appointment with Jessica DeGore RD LDN CDE CHWC please contact us at 412-322-2129