https://www.glwd.org/blog/nutrition-tips-for-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd-awareness-month/

6.21.21 / Nutrition

Nutrition Tips for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month

June is dedicated to raise awareness, eliminate the stigma, and help people who are affected by PTSD receive adequate treatment. PTSD is a mental health condition that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, serious accidents, a natural disaster, or sexual assault. Everyone with PTSD, whether they are Veterans or civilians, needs to know that there are effective treatments that can lead to a better quality of life.

PTSD is associated with poor eating habits, decreased physical activity and smoking. People with PTSD have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes. Studies also suggest a connection between unhealthy eating patterns and depression and anxiety. Nutrition plays an important role in preventing these chronic diseases and it can also help improve mental health.

We know that good neuro-nutrition can improve mood and cognitive function. The brain needs a good supply of glucose, its primary source of fuel. Complex carbohydrates are the best source. The closer the carbohydrate is to its natural form, the better. So that means a wide variety of unprocessed foods that come from plants, including veggies, fruits, beans, as well as whole grain products.

A steady, balanced supply of glucose (blood sugar) is also critical for appetite and mood regulation, which is why people can get irritable when they are hungry. If the blood sugar spikes and drops, your mood will tend to do the same. Refined grains contribute to this. Having meals spaced evenly every three to four hours, choosing unrefined carbs and balancing meals with protein and fat, is good for both mood stability and appetite control.

Healthy nutrition also helps to balance inflammation, which some researchers have linked to depression. Western diets lean towards foods that are pro-inflammatory. Animal meats, hydrogenated oils, and many of the chemicals and preservatives in processed foods all have inflammatory qualities.

Take these steps to improve your mind and body health:

  • Eat probiotics, in fermented foods (sauerkraut, pickles) yogurt and kefir for gut health. Food high in omega-3 fatty acids is also good to elevate good gut bacteria. The mind-gut connection is real!
  • Shift towards more anti-inflammatory foods, such as omega 3-rich fish three times a week, flax seeds, sour cherries and berries, apples, pears, and pomegranate.
  • Choose a plant-based diet. Eat mostly whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Balance your meals with protein and fat. Make half of your plate colorful vegetables and divide the other half between a lean protein (fish, beans, lean cuts of meat) and whole grain carbohydrates (brown rice, bulgur wheat, barley, sweet potatoes, quinoa).
  • Cook with anti-inflammatory spices such as ginger, rosemary, turmeric, oregano, curry, and cinnamon.
  • Use healthy fats. Choose extra-virgin olive oil for salads, eat avocado, and unsalted raw nuts.
  • Limit your consumption of red meats and processed foods.

Healthy nutrition, combined with exercise and relaxation, can help you recover quicker and enjoy life more fully with a clear and energized mind.

Start today!

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