Acute grief from a serious, life-shattering event like losing a loved one, narrowly surviving a natural disaster, or a sudden career derailment can lead to a number of health problems, both physical and emotional.Depression, fatigue, anxiety, physical pain and a lack of appetite have all been studied as common side effects of grief. But experts, including Dr. Eric Bui, associate director for research at the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders and Complicated Grief Program at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, say adopting a routine of mind-body fitness including a healthy diet can help pull you out of the abyss.
So how about feeding your grief nuts? That may sound, well, nuts, but nuts pack a ton of healthful benefits that will give you a boost when you’re feeling your worst. Here’s a few of the ways nuts and seeds are there for you when depression sets in.
Nuts for Heartbreak
The death of a spouse or loved one can be one of the hardest moments of grief one experiences. Life will go on, but that may feel impossible at first. When you are too grief-stricken to cook or even choke down a full meal, snacking on nuts can satiate your appetite and give your body fuel to go on without causing a carb crash. Try walnuts for a boost of omega-3 fatty acids that help lower blood pressure and alleviate stress in your darkest hour. Toss them with dried cranberries for a healthful dose of antioxidants and semi-sweet chocolate chips for a dash of comfort food without loads of sugar.
Nuts for Revival
When grief has caused you to lose sleep and you need an energy boost, forego coffee as it can ultimately add to your dark mood as that temporary buzz is followed by a crash that often leaves you feeling even worse. Instead, reach for the chia seeds. They are one of the most nutrient-rich foods on the planet, and because of their neutral flavor, can be sprinkled on everything from smoothies to oatmeal to salads to help revive your body and lift your spirits.
Nuts for Zen
If your depression is more just a feeling of blah, don’t resort to sugary snacks. Instead of packing on empty calories, which can lead to weight gain and all the negative side effects that come with that including fatigue and body aches, try to practice mindful eating. Breathe in the delicious smell of a healthful meal and slowly savor each bite. Almonds are an excellent source of protein you can add to a simple, aromatic stir fry instead of fatty meat. They are also great for brain health and immunity to keep you feeling wise and well.
Coping with grief and depression is never easy, but fueling your body with healthful food instead of empty calories and alcohol can make a tremendous difference in your ability to cope with dark times and move forward with your life. Nuts can be your ally when times are tough. A ready-to-eat, protein-packed solution to feed your body and your soul.