Anxiety and Depression in College-Aged Students

June 11, 2018

Here is a startling statistic, almost 40% of college students said they felt so depressed in the past 12 months that they had difficulty functioning – they had trouble studying, trouble completing assignments and lacked concentration and focus when taking tests. Why has there been such an increase in depression? Listen in is as we discuss some nutritional connections to depression and anxiety and what you can do about this mental health epidemic.

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MARCIE:  Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. I want to begin the show with some sobering facts. Some may even surprise you. Minnesota has one of the nation's highest rates of major depression according to a new report from Blue Cross Blue Shield of America.

LEA: And here is another rather startling fact that almost 40 percent of college students say they felt so depressed in the past 12 months that they had difficulties functioning. They had trouble studying, trouble completing assignments and lacked concentration and focus when they're taking their tests.

MARCIE: And another alarming fact to share with you, women living in Minnesota tied with women in Maine for having the highest diagnosed depression rate in the country, 8.1 percent of people in Maine and in Minnesota have been diagnosed with depression. And overall major depression affects more than 9 million Americans.

LEA:  And here's another significant piece of information about depression. The rate of depression in adolescent girls has increased by 65 percent and is up to 47 percent for boys in the past five years. I'm sure many of you have figured out the topic today is about depression and anxiety and specifically in college age young men and women.

MARCIE: Just in light of the recent deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain who are so creative and talented really just in their own right, you know, the sudden sad departure of their lives has brought a lot of attention to suicide and the depression and anxiety that oftentimes accompanies it. Actually there was a new study that they just put out, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in nearly every state in the past 17 years, suicide has risen by 25 percent. Isn't that just so sad? And so, you know, we want to continue with the topic, these statistics are so concerning and it just makes my heart hurt for all those that are suffering. So that's why this show is so important and we really need to look at why there has been such an increase in the rate of depression and not only Minnesota, but also in other states think places like Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts in Washington. And it might be no surprise at all that the lowest rate of depression is actually in Hawaii. Hawaii, actually they've seen a decline in depression rates. So that's great. You know, other states that showed the lowest rates of depression were Nevada, Arizona, California, Mississippi, and Texas. So now that we know what and where. Let's try to figure out the answer to why?

LEA:  Yeah, that's a good. So why has there been such an increase in depression? Some experts believe it's because of the increased use of electronics. Sleep experts would indicate that it's from the lack of sleep. Looking at the states with the highest rates of depression, we also see that these are the states with the least amount of sunlight and no doubt the lowest levels of vitamin D. Are you having your vitamin D levels checked yearly? Some people will have it maybe one time in their life, right?

MARCIE: Right. Or some don't even have it at all.

LEA: Exactly, exactly. What about your college age, son or daughter or grandchildren? We recommend your levels to be within the range of 50 to 80 while some psychiatrists like Dr. Amen recommend an even higher level for people experiencing depression.

MARCIE: That's right. Well, you might be wondering who these voices are talking to you this morning since we started out with some sobering information and just kind of jumped right into our topic. So we just want to take a moment to introduce ourselves. Lea, my cohost today and I are both licensed nutritionist. My name is Marcie Vaske and I have a master's degree in clinical nutrition. And my degree, and perhaps more importantly because of my own personal experience with anxiety and disordered eating, I have a knowledgeable and really heartfelt understanding of our discussion today. And I will admit it is still difficult for me to talk about all of this at times, but I really get it. I really understand it now that food and nutrition has such a huge role on how I experienced my life, how I live it, you know, what I can eat, either will positively or negatively affect my mood and I can tell real quickly when that happens. It affects my anxiety level, my overall happiness, and even my memory can't focus as well, things like that. So some of you in the past have heard me on past shows, discuss my anxiety and disordered eating and, and also compulsive exercise. But I'm willing to share my struggles with all of you because I want to help. I really want to help you understand that you need to get in, you need to eat right to think right. And whether you're young or old, you deserve to experience an anxiety free and depression free life.

LEA:  Alright. I love what you just said. You need to eat right to think right. That's critical.

MARCIE:  It really is. We see it all the time with our clients too. They might come in just more apathetic, just down, you can tell. And the next time you see them once they started eating right, they're amazed at how much better they feel and how much energy they have and clearheaded.

LEA: Yeah, they have a smile on their face a lot of the times where maybe it wasn't there at the first visit.  So good morning listeners. I am Lea Wetzell and I have a master's degree in clinical nutrition and I personally put two autoimmune diseases into remission. One was a blood disorder and then I've talked to a lot on the radio about my overcoming asthma.  With the climbing rates of depression and the epidemic rates of dementia and Alzheimer's disease, I so appreciate the scientific research about how we need to eat good food, the right food to support our brain chemistry. We need sufficient animal protein to provide the necessary building blocks for all of our brain chemicals. And we need healthy fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids, to support our cell membranes of every cell, of every brain cell. And we need the right amount of glucose to support brain energy. The best source of glucose to support brain energy is vegetable carbohydrates. So when I say that, those are a vegetables such as carrots or spinach or broccoli and sweet potato. We say this over and over again to our clients, your mother was right - eat your vegetables. But we would really take it one step further, wouldn't we Marcie, and we would say, eat your vegetables with butter.

MARCIE: Oh yeah, for sure. You know, that was a lot of information. So what are we saying right there? We're saying eat protein, eat good fat. People don't realize that every little cell in their body has better health with better fats. And then of course, getting in a little bit of that good starchy carb or good carbohydrates, vegetable carbs.

LEA: We need carbs. Just the right sourcing, right?

MARCIE:Right. I think it's time also we should dig into some connections and solutions to this depression and anxiety that we're talking about today and a really good spot to start with is what we were taught. Lea mentioned earlier, you know, getting that vitamin D level checked. It's kind of shocking, but the statistic is that over 61 percent or greater than 6 out of 10 college students said they felt overwhelming anxiety within the past 12 months. I mean, that's just, that's a great amount. And you know, that overwhelming anxiety, what if it was only because I had low vitamin D? You know, in the past when I look at that, I mean I had no idea what my vitamin D level was years ago and as we mentioned earlier, normal levels are between that 50 and 80. So what if your vitamin D level is below 20? How do you feel? Maybe you're feeling anxious, you might feel depressed and you might even feel completely exhausted even when you wake up. And then of course that lasts all day long. But that connection I think with people don't know yet is that having a good vitamin D level affects all these things and more that we didn't even mention.

LEA: Exactly. Every cell in your body has a receptor for vitamin D, it is critical for life, really. And we know that vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin and is an essential vitamin for brain health, mood, and skin. Remember the states with the lowest depression rates? That was Hawaii, Nevada, Arizona, California, Mississippi, and Texas. They all have some of the highest levels of sunshine right? And the strongest sunshine because the lower south you go, the stronger the sun is. While Minnesota, Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Washington all certainly have less sunlight and increased levels of depression. Low levels of vitamin D have been implicated in depression. Bipolar disorder and memory problems are an association. So adequate vitamin D levels are also so important to help prevent things like Alzheimer's disease.

MARCIE: That's right. So we can really see those connections there. And before we dig in a little bit more, it's time for our first break. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. I am Marcie Vaske licensed nutritionist and today we're discussing the causes and solutions to anxiety and depression, which is currently reached epidemic proportions in college aged students.

LEA:  Yeah, and throughout today's show, we're going to share some of our favorite mood boosters. So mood booster number one is eat a balanced breakfast. So eat a balanced breakfast of eggs and vegetables and butter to support your brain health. The protein in eggs is the building blocks for serotonin and dopamine, both of which are key neurotransmitters to reduce the risk of developing depression. Again, mood booster number one is eat a balanced breakfast. We'll be right back.

LEA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. So mood booster number two, as we were talking about before break that throughout the show we're going to talk about different things that we often will use with clients to help with helping with mood issues, right? That's right. So number one we talked about earlier was a balanced eating and number two is to get eight to nine hours of sleep most nights. This is huge.

MARCIE: People are rolling their eyes right now. They're thinking, really? I don't do that.

LEA:  I often educated in appointments that this is a critical part of your healing processes. You've got to sleep. So lack of sleep has been linked to mood problems and depression in a number of scientific studies.

MARCIE: In fact, one study published in the journal called Sleep, they found that sleep problems can be an early sign of depression and that treatment for sleep problems may protect a person from developing depression. So if you have sleep issues and are not sleeping eight to nine hours on most nights, then it's time to make an appointment with one of our Weight & Wellness nutritionists or dietitians, you know, we work with children, teens, adults, and older adults. And to make that appointment, you can call 651-699-3438.

LEA:  Yeah. And people come to us with all different types of sleep problems, right? Habit or they can't fall asleep or stay asleep and we have lots of different ideas and solutions to help with the problem. Everyone's different.

MARCIE: Everybody is different. That is for sure.

LEA: But we definitely can help.

MARCIE:Yes. Yes. So we have somebody on the line and we just want to take this call before we kinda jumped back into our topic. So Megan, welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. What do you have for us this morning?

CALLER: Well, I can't believe it, but I jumped into my car and turned you on and I just wanted to tell you guys about how much this completely relates to what I'm experiencing right now. I'm hypoglycemic and I also have an anxiety disorder. My mother is a registered dietitian and a diabetes educator. So I've always known that I need at least eight hours of sleep and I need to eat a meal, not just snacks every three hours. Just to maintain my energy. And I can attest to, you know, I'm going through a very stressful illness in my family that caused me to just over exert myself physically and then I still struggle with anxiety, which I'm being seen by a professional for however, once I lack sleep and I exhaust my energy, I'm realizing I forget to eat as often as I need to. And the biggest thing I've learned in the last week that is so, so important for me is to cut out sugar. I've always known to cut out caffeine. I wanted so badly to eat grapes before bed one day. And my cousin said, no, no, no, that's sugar and you need to sleep. And that was just a real wake-up call for me that, you know, even though I think I'm eating healthy, I have to go towards the carbs, the protein. And sometimes when I think, oh, I need a piece of broccoli, it might not be enough for me. I might need just a biscuit.

MARCIE: With some butter on it, right?

CALLER: Yes, with some butter or some healthy fats. I was a dancer growing up, I never counted carbs. I always felt bad that my mother was a dietitian and they never knew what was a good amount of calories and what was a bad amount of calories I ate based on how I felt.

MARCIE: Well, I think it's really important that you really listen to yourself.

CALLER: Yes. And the two pieces of advice that I would love to pass on that my mother the dietitian a registered dietitian and diabetes educator has always said to me and ingrained into me is, always put color on your plate. So if you look at your plate and it looks very bland color within with the colors and that means, I mean, I'm looking at my plate right now that's in front of me. There's no green in there, so I should put a few vegetables there. But right now I have carbs, I have protein and I have more carbs, it's biscuits and gravy. So I'm sure there's some healthy fats in there that I need as well, you know. So I just want to pass that along because this is so important. And my last point, I want to make is mental health is very important. As long as you're doing what you're supposed to be doing with taking care of your body and what you put in your body and how much sleep do you get and if your anxiety still persists, please see a professional do not go to a nurse practitioner. Nurse practitioners are great, but if you are getting prescribed medication that is either anxiety, like a Xanax or an antidepressant, that should be prescribed by a professional such as the Associated Clinic of Psychology.

LEA: Right. We always educate that, that definitely need to work with the proper professionals.

CALLER: With the recent suicides happening, national news is talking about mental health and I think the conversation needs to be even with the gun violence going on in this country. It all relates back to mental health. There is a stigma there that needs to be erased.

LEA:  Exactly. Exactly. Yep. Well I really appreciate your call today. Yeah. And this is the time for you to really work on that, keeping that blood sugar stable.

MARCIE: Keeping those good fats in and put some vegetables on your plate this morning Megan, okay?

LEA:  And some good old butter. Thank you for calling today. We really appreciate it. Good information.

MARCIE: For sure. When we left on break, we were talking about vitamin D. So we kind of want to jump back into that before we go to our next break here and talk about vitamin D deficiencies. They are becoming more and more common.

LEA: They are.

MARCIE: And why? Why is because we spend more time indoors than we are outside and when we are outside, what are we doing?

LEA: Sunscreen.

MARCIE: We are, we're putting sunscreen all over ourselves. So for these reasons, you know, we want to make sure not only that our own vitamin D levels are good, but our children's vitamin D levels are tested and within the good ranges as well. In fact there's an alarming fact really that 7 out of 10 children are deficient in vitamin D. So it might be to run in and get a vitamin D test on both your kids and yourself.

LEA:  Yeah. And you know, if you find yourself with a level of less than 50, taking vitamin D3 oil capsules would be really important. Most people need to take at least 2000 IUs a day daily to sustain a good level above 50. And some people, you know, they need 5,000 IUs of vitamin D3 daily and others because they struggle with keeping up their levels need closer to 10,000 IUs a day daily. If you or your children just hate taking pills, I suggest you do what I do for my kids. And you could do vitamin D in a liquid and do one or two drops of vitamin D3, you could put it right on their tongue. My kids will just stick their tongues right out and I can put those drops right on there. Or if they really picky kids or a loved one, you can put them in things like a protein shake.

MARCIE: I put it in water for mine with their bifido.

LEA:   Yup, however you need to do it. It doesn't really matter. It's very easy to add to things. So I have their pediatrician check their levels at least once a year and I love to see, you know, my kid's happy, smiling faces and I really want to do whatever I can to help them avoid anxiety or low mood. So adding vitamin D is a simple solution.

MARCIE: It is. It is. So it's time for our second break and you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Here's another mood booster that we would like to pass along, especially to those young people who are drinking soda. Studies have found that people who drink four sodas a day have a 30 percent increased risk of being diagnosed with depression. Kids are drinking a lot of soda.

LEA: They are. So for this reason, mood booster number three is stop drinking soda and start drinking water. If you are addicted to soda, we have a plan to help you break that soda habit and become soda free. So call us at 651-699-3438.

LEA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you today by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. And here is the mood booster number four. Eliminate gluten from your diet for six weeks and see if it helps improve your mood.

MARCIE:Well, I think that's a good one. You know, research reported in the American Journal of Gastroenterology in 2011 found that gluten specifically caused feelings of depression. So oftentimes I'll have my client's eliminate wheat, barley, rye, and oats as one of the options for depression treatment. We help clients achieve a gluten free eating plan so that we take that stress off right away and you can give us a call to set up an appointment at our Nutritional Weight & Wellness offices at 651-699-3438.

LEA: And oftentimes people wouldn't make those connections.

MARCIE:No, because they, you know, a lot of people think if I have a gluten sensitivity, I must have a bowel problem, right? My digestive system's a wreck, not wow, that gives me a bad mood. So it's really when we can help them connect the dots it's a good deal.

LEA: And I have clients who don't have any sort of GI distress with food like gluten that their body's reacting to, but they noticed they feel so much better mentally, physically when they cut it out.

MARCIE:  Right. You're right on that. You know, earlier in the show Lea I shared with you that I experienced for years anxiety and disordered eating. We kind of talked about that and it was earlier in my life when I was in high school and in college and I will wholeheartedly admit that in college I was not a healthy eater at all.

LEA:   Like most college kids, right?

MARCIE: That's right. I mean I don't think there's a whole bunch of us out there and I, but maybe today it's better. I'm hoping. I am always hopeful. You know, I ate really bad and had extreme disordered eating. In fact some of the stuff I would do is I would only eat chicken for my protein and maybe I'd eat it like once or twice a month. I mean, it was not something I always having every day. So it didn't provide me with those building blocks that we talked about earlier, that dopamine and serotonin that I know now I need for my brain to feel calm and to think more clearly. So what happened? Of course I had more anxiety and you know, now that I understand that I on those days when I wasn't eating the protein, I wasn't making any serotonin and dopamine and if I only knew what I know now, right? How many times have we said that? So I hope those out there who are listening to me today or to us today that are struggling with anxiety and depression can really hear what we're saying. Nutrition makes a difference.

LEA: That's so right. And Marcie it is so sad to hear what you ate or rather what you did not eat in college. Because I see how really like in our family knowing now what I know, right? As an adult, my little Oliver, what he eats, you know, he's five years old and he does eat very well and he wants to eat is protein. He loves sausages and eggs for breakfast. A beef patties for lunch, sardines for snacks and of course he loves, you know, his good old steak for dinner. He's consistently building his happy brain chemicals and it shows because he's such a happy boy.

MARCIE:That's awesome. Yes, he has always been a good eater though.

LEA: He has his whole life. But I can relate to your story. You know, I didn't overly struggle with anxiety and depression, but I ate very poorly and reflecting back to that same time frame in my life, you know, I would also say I'm a much happier, more focused person now eating more proteins and having more balanced blood sugar than when I was eating all that process food.

MARCIE:  And all those processed carbohydrates. So you know, my diet was pretty pathetic back in my undergrad years and fortunately I no longer ate that way when I got into graduate school and started specializing in nutrition. But during those undergrad years I, when I was only eating processed carbs, lots and lots of those things like bagels and pasta with the aerosol butter. Did you ever do that? It's so disgusting.

LEA:  I totally did that.

MARCIE:  It's bad stuff guys, so don't do it. Okay. Beans, I would eat lots of beans, bread, bananas, cereal. I mean that's just all it ever consisted of. And I would only use that spray butter like I talked about and not real butter. I mean there would be no way that would go in my mouth or peanut butter for goodness sakes. And I know now that all those carbs turned into sugar in my body. I didn't necessarily gain weight because I was very busy over exercising. I'd exercise for an hour and a half, maybe two hours a day sometimes. So I wasn't gaining the weight or becoming diabetic but what it did to me is block out my cell receptors in my brain so the neurotransmitters could not get into my brain cells. And then of course, what did that cause? Things like anxiety, like for me like we've been talking about today. And even really in drinking too much too because the alcohol of course calmed my anxieties. So you know, really drinking a lot in college and hoping that the alcohol would somehow just kinda control or minimize anxiety is really what I was looking for and no one ever sat me down and said, hey Marcie, you're eating really bad. Those food choices are certainly creating some of this anxiety that you're having. We had no idea. I had no idea how much I was hurting myself at the time.

LEA:  Right. And think about your story and how relatable that is to most college kids. And this in like today, even sadly today, it's not being addressed. Food and mental illness for that age range.

MARCIE: Right, right. So I hope everyone's kind of putting these connections together today.

LEA: Right. That's very powerful. Thank you for sharing that very powerful. So this mental health epidemic is very serious problem today as 10 percent of college students who said they have serious considerations of suicide in the past 12 months. According to the American College Health Association of Spring of 2017 Survey in an article in the April 9th, 2018 issue of Time Magazine for the first time, many colleges are offering screening and counseling for anxiety and depression, which is a really great service. But as we were saying, who is teaching these young kids how to eat?

MARCIE: I know are they just going on Dr. Google and you know, finding out what they should be doing.

LEA:  Right. And it's so confusing, Dr. Google, right? Conflicting information.

MARCIE: Lots of conflicting information.

LEA:  Marcie is a very intelligent woman and you heard the way she was eating in college. She was only eating low fat or no fat or bad fats, right?

MARCIE:  Oh for sure. And all those processed foods and bar food.

LEA:Right, high process carbs. She certainly was not eating to support her brain chemistry and no one helped her to eat better because they didn't even understand in order to think better, you need to eat better.

MARCIE: And we still see that, you know, even when our clients come in they're just so amazed by what we're teaching them - protein, carb, fats. What do you mean I can eat real fats? You know, I was just going back to just educating people on what good food, what real food is. And how that can change not only moods but their energy levels, the way they sleep and all of that. And we talk about this on all of our podcasts, don't we? But, you know, I think education, education.

LEA:  Yes, especially too, as we said, this is an age range where oftentimes it's one of the worst times of eating.

MARCIE:  Right so they are out of the house. They have to cook on their own. And so either that means they're going to get boxed foods to make it really easy and it's cheaper. You know, eating real food is more expensive. But when you look at these long term health issues, it really is so worth it. It really is. Because I grew up with that low fat, no fat error, and you did too, right? I really had this fear of fat I did there was I would say for 10 years, I never put fat in my mouth. If I could help it. It would just ring through my head every day, do not eat the fat because for sure I thought I was going to get fat.  And even this many years later, I still see clients come in every day and they're just like, what do you mean? I don't know about that fat piece. They get really nervous about it, but we've lived in this low fat myth that fat is going to make us fat. So they're afraid to eat all the good things we're talking about like butter and olive oil and peanut butter and the delicious coconut oil. And what's happening is that they crave bagels and cereal and muffins and they're eating fat free yogurt, which is really just loaded with lots of carbs. And what happens when we do that sugar? Sugar, just like our caller talked about, is increasing their anxiety levels. Back in college when I didn't understand that my brain needed good fat because 60 percent of our brain is made up of fat. I wish I would have known that. But when we're talking to our clients today, we talk about incorporating two to three teaspoons of some healthy fat at every meal, don't we?

LEA: We do.

MARCIE:Alright, well, it's already time for our third break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition and we're discussing causes and solutions to anxiety and depression in college age young adults. So for our fifth mood booster, we want to tell you to maintain a balanced blood sugar level by eating meals frequently. Skipping meals is going to lead to that low blood sugar level which can make you hungry, irritable, anxious, and depressed.

LEA: That's right. And these everyday unhealthy habits can cause dips in blood sugar levels. So things like we talked to earlier, drinking alcohol, skipping meals, eating high sugar snacks, drinking soda pop, fruit drinks or sugary coffee drinks. All of these poor habits can lead to low blood sugar levels. We are a nation of high sugar snackers and we are a nation of high rates of depression. So to help you if any of those are big habits of yours, to overcome them, you can call us in the office at 651-699-3438 to set up an appointment because food matters.

LEA: Welcome back the Dishing Up Nutrition. So next week be sure to tune in and listen because Kara and Carolyn are going to discuss "Can Stress Cause Weight Gain?" It's a good question, right? Our last mood booster of the day, mood booster number six, is eating healthy beneficial fats. Eat butter, olive oil, avocados, nuts, cream, olives, lard, nut butters, safflower mayonnaise, coconut oil and coconut milk. These good fats protect us from depression while following a no fat or low fat diet sets you up for experiencing depression.

MARCIE:  Yes, and also avoiding soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil and cottonseed oil. Because these fats will block your cell receptors that we've been talking about, the cell receptors in your brain, from receiving these messages from your neurotransmitters

LEA:  A lot of people are surprised maybe by some of those fats like canola is often touted as a good option.

MARCIE:  It definitely is, but we're saying no in your brain is saying no. Your brain is 60 to 70 percent fat so when we talk about having these good fats, food matters. It really does. And eating the correct kinds of fat matters too. It's no wonder that 50 percent of Americans suffer from mental illness. Lea at the beginning of the show said something really that I believe is very important. So I want to say it one more time. You need sufficient animal protein to provide the necessary building blocks for all your brain chemicals. You need good fats, especially things like omega-3 fatty acids, that will also support the cell membrane of every brain cell. And you need good vegetable carbohydrates because they're the best source of glucose to support your brain energy. Let us help you feed your brain for your health and happiness. You can call us at 651-699-3438 and make an appointment. Or ask questions either/or.

LEA:  Exactly. That's great. Getting back to kind of what we were talking, we were talking about healthy fats and the importance of them in how both of us fell I'm in the category at one point in our lives, have no fat or fear of fat and often would resort to eating lots of bad fats thinking that those were better options. Like butter spray.

MARCIE: Gosh, I'm surprised we lived Lea.

LEA: I agree. I agree. Yeah. And really why? The billions and billions of nerve cell in your brain require essential fatty acids to function. The insulation around your nerves cells called the myelin is mainly made up of fat and cholesterol. That's interesting, isn't it? A loss of the myelin create a short, when nerves crossed each other. This may cause you to experience involuntary multiple sclerosis type movements such as tremor in your hands or limbs.

MARCIE: That's right. Kind of an interesting connection right there. It's not just about mood stuff too, I mean there's physical issues that can happen with that. If you are a young adult experiencing anxiety or depression or both, you really may just feel overwhelmed and you're asking, well, how can I regain control over my emotions? How can I rebalance my brain chemistry?  I don't know what to do with all of this. And at Nutritional Weight & Wellness, our answer is always eating the right foods at the right time. I've learned that I need at least three to four ounces of protein four or five times a day every day. And of course, adding in that good healthy fat which looks like two or three teaspoons of that fat at every meal. And rather than those processed carbohydrates, I instead really enjoy eating those good vegetable carbs and that will give me just enough glucose to support my brain energy. And I have good energy. I've developed some strong muscles. I guess I'm stronger now. And I have much less anxiety, much less anxiety and much better moods. I'm just happier.

LEA: That's really great. That's awesome. So protein makes many, but really two very important brain chemicals or what we call neurotransmitters. It is a protein that is the building block for both dopamine and serotonin, not antidepressants. Dopamine helps you focus and gives you drive and energy and serotonin is the brain chemical that helps you feel calm and peaceful and happy.

MARCIE:  It does. It really does make us feel that way.

LEA:It's pretty great.

MARCIE:When I was low on my own serotonin because I was only eating a chicken once or twice a month, so very little protein. I was anxious. I had those obsessive thoughts and my disordered eating got a lot worse. In eating the right nutrient filled foods is just powerful treatment for anxiety, for depression, but really to be perfectly honest, most of us need ongoing nutritional counseling to make sure we're feeding our brain the right foods.

LEA:Right and it's a process. It is a journey.

MARCIE: It is. I always tell people they're on their food journey. It's just not a one day deal and so luckily for my own self, because I was really intrigued with nutrition in my healing process, I kind of was on my own path, but I think for so many of our clients, that's not their love is nutrition. They need to come in and see us. We need to help them stay on the right path. And you know, we've said this already in the show, but it's essential that we eat right to think right. And I liked that a lot. Eat right to think right. I do see clients in Wayzata and in Eden Prairie and Lea sees clients in Mendota Heights. We also have a lot of great well trained licensed nutritionist and registered dietitians in all of our offices in Maple Grove, North Oaks, Lakeville and St Paul. So we're hoping that the discussion that we've had today has been really helpful in just kind of opening your eyes to a new way of thinking about anxiety and depression and some different ways that nutrition can help you. And maybe before we end, we should kind of just run through some of our mood boosters that we talked about. Also, I think our number one mood booster was eat a balanced breakfast. That was one thing that we talked about right away. Protein, carb, fat, right? What was our second mood booster?

LEA:  The mood booster number two was to get eight to nine hours sleep most nights. Critical. That's where your brain remodels and that's where it detoxifies and can restore.

MARCIE:   Yes. Very important to us. And then we had a number three came up as stop drinking soda. All that stuff is so bad. And so what do you want to be drinking? Some good old water.

LEA: Your brain needs to be hydrated.

MARCIE:   It needs to be hydrated to think right.

LEA:  Yep. A mood booster number four is to eliminate gluten from your diet for six weeks and see if your mood improves.

MARCIE:Awesome. Well thanks everyone for joining us today.

LEA:  We've got a couple more mood boosters, maintaining a balanced blood sugar really is an important number five. And eating healthy beneficial fats is number six.

MARCIE:  Excellent. Our goal at Nutritional Weight & Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food.

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