Fight Depression With A Healthy And Nutritious Diet
Depression is one of the most prevalent illnesses worldwide, affecting more than 300 million people across the globe. Though, a person experiences mood fluctuation in depression, it is not a short-lived emotional response of the body. When it last longs with severe intensity, it can cause serious health conditions. Some of the eye-opening facts about the condition are:
- Depression is a serious mood disorder with symptoms like loss of interest, difficulty in sleeping or oversleeping, change in weight, feeling of loneliness, energy loss, suicidal thoughts, etc.
- Family history of depression, trauma, stress, major changes in life, and certain medications develop a higher risk of developing depression.
- Anxiety and depression disorders are quite closely related.
- Women are more prone to this mental health illness.
- It affects a person in different forms like postpartum depression, persistent depressive disorder, seasonal affective disorder, psychotic depression, and major depression.
- It is one of the leading causes of disability and affects people of all ages.
From time to time, many studies reveal that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to treating mental disorders. But a combination of treatments like anti-depressant medications, psychotherapy, and taking a healthy and nutritional diet does help in treating its symptoms with the passage of time.
Depression And Diet
Food plays an indispensable role in maintaining our physical, mental, and emotional health. If any person is fighting with depression, intake of certain food items on a regular basis does help in decreasing the symptoms and bringing positive changes in life.
Which Food Items To Include?
Fish – Fish is a rich source of Omega-3 fats. The Omega-3 fat builds connections between myriad brain cells and helps in strengthening the receptor sites for neurotransmitters. So, taking a diet rich in Omega-3 fat increases serotonin production in the body, which acts as a mood booster. Oily fish like Mackerel, Salmon, Tuna (Not canned) are great to eat during the depression.
Beans – Beans are nutrient-dense food items. It is a great source of fiber and protein that helps in maintaining consistent blood sugar levels in the body. Beans are also high in folate which helps the body to use amino acids and vitamin B 12 for creating new cells and helping in the detoxification process of the body. Eating pinto beans is highly recommended for those who are struggling with depression.
Nuts – Another very rich source of Omega -3 fat is nuts. Be it cashews, hazelnut and brazil nuts, all provide a good amount of Omega-3 fats to the body. However, Walnuts are slated as the highest plant-based Omega-3 source that supports overall brain health and keeps the blood sugar level in check also.
Vegetables – Green leafy vegetables are a panacea for every disease. It is because they are a good source of Alpha-Liolenic-acid (ALA). ALA combines DHA, EPA and Omega-3 fatty acids. Green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts, etc., help significantly in perking up the mood and stabilizing it also.
Seeds – Struggling with depression? Include chia and flax seeds in your diet on a regular basis. Both seeds provide Omega-3 fats to the body. In addition to this, even squash and pumpkin seeds are good to eat as they increase the tryptophan level in the body. It is an essential amino acid that produces niacin which eventually leads to the production of serotonin in the body.
Poultry – Turkey and Chicken provide lean protein to the body, help in stabilizing blood sugar levels, and keep the mood well-balanced throughout the day. It is because these two products provide tryptophan to the body in high amount which in turn produce serotonin and keeps the mood healthy and good.
Blue Berries – Free radicals are molecules made by the human body and lead to aging, cell damage, and many other problems. Though, there is no surefire way of stopping the production of free radicals, eating food items rich in antioxidants may slow down their effect. Blueberries are a very rich source of antioxidants that promotes brain functioning as they are rich in polyphenols and Vitamin C. Blueberries also act as stress-buster when eaten during stressful periods. Other food items rich in antioxidants are broccoli, grapefruit, nuts and seeds, oranges, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, peaches, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, etc.
Food Items To Avoid During Depression
Some food items are good to eat during the depression and some are not. It is because these items affect the mental health of a person in a negative manner. So, it is necessary to stay away from these food items till the time you overcome depression. The list includes:
Sugar – People have the notion that sugary food and drinks only affect the waistline, but it is a half-truth as it adversely impacts the mood also. So, avoid eating items like cakes, cereal, cookies, granola bars, energy bars, etc., during the depression. The major substitutes of sugar like fructose, honey, corn syrup, lactose, maltose, etc., are equally bad to consume. So, indulge in mindful eating by restricting your intake of products high in sugar content.
Refined Grains – Many processed food items contain refined grains in ample quantity. The classic examples are bread, chips, pasta, white rice, etc. These lists of items are full of refined carbohydrates with little or no nutritional content. Adding these items to your diet fluctuates your blood sugar levels as well as your mood meter.
Caffeine – Many people are able to start their morning on a high note due to caffeine but drinking it later in the day eventually crashes their energy levels. Though no study provides concrete proof that caffeine causes depression, it is advisable to consume it in moderation. Caffeine lovers can kick-start their day by replacing it with green tea. Green tea is rich in antioxidants and provides an amino acid, theanine to the body that has anti-stress effects.
Alcohol – Battling with depression and consuming alcohol? It will not help you in any way. Most alcoholic beverages have high sugar content. This causes fluctuations in the blood sugar level which in turn result in mood swings. Drinking alcohol is an easy escape from life problems but the irony is alcohol itself is the root cause of many health problems.
Natural Ways To Treat Depression
There is no harm in trying other natural methods also when you are trying hard to overcome depression. These natural ways are:
- Indulging in physical activity for a minimum of 20 minutes a day five times a week will help your brain to rewire and unwind. You can even join yoga sessions.
- Some people hardly sleep during depression whereas enough sleep is prudent to relax the mind and the body. So, get rid away from all distractions like laptops, and mobile from your bedroom and make a routine to sleep and get up at the same time every day.
- Do something which you thoroughly enjoy like listening to music, playing with kids, painting, etc. These activities actually lift your mood and energy level.
- Set workable goals that help in giving a sense of accomplishment like cleaning your wardrobe, cleaning your clothes, etc.
The Bottom Line
Our body reacts on the basis of food a person eats on a regular basis which impacts the body’s ability also to function and respond. Though, it is hard to outline any specific anti-depression diet, eating a nutrient-rich food keeps our brain healthy.
It is always better to discuss your health professional about your diet if you are struggling with depression. Moreover, if he recommends some changes in your diet, be patient and give the time to your body to adjust to the changing food patterns. No trick or method can show positive results in a day or two. You need to follow it religiously for a few months to get the desired benefits.
Similar read : Depression In Males: Symptoms, Causes And Treatment
Disclaimer: It is to inform you that whatever information covered in the article is meant for general purposes only; do not consider it as a piece of professional medical advice. In case of any query pertaining to any medical condition, consultation with an experienced health professional is a must.