If you or a loved one is suffering from depression, you may know that it can be devastating and may literally cause damage to your health and lifestyle. You might like to know that eating the right nutrition often does play a big role in reducing attacks.
Unfortunately, most people with depression are prescribed anti-depressants that have a number of side-effects including:
- functional impairment
- increased risk of diabetes and other chronic diseases
- poor immune system
- increased bingeing and weight gain
- loss of sexual desire
- loss of interest in life
- anxiety, restlessness, irritability
- suicidal thoughts
- violent behavior
The good news is that although depression may seem like a serious condition, it is not a physical disease that needs to be treated with drugs. Rather, it is a sign that your body and/or life may be out of balance. One of the key ways to address depression is to learn to manage your stress. Eating the right foods at the right time may help your body, hormones and stimulation system fight stress and bring your body back to some kind of balance.
Anti-depressant drug or pills may only lead to further damage by causing the side effects as mentioned above and affecting neurotransmitters, yet not really provide any healing to the body.
Eating the right foods have a powerful impact in brightening your mood, improving your ability to cope, and supporting your mental health. Experts highly recommend avoiding sugar and grains that will help normalize your insulin and leptin levels. This elimination alone will have a tremendous effect on your overall mental health.
Below are 9 recommended foods that contain the elements and nutrients that will help to boost your mood in a positive way:
Berries contain the highest level of antioxidants. Antioxidant is one of the principle elements that produces anti-depressing stimulation in your body and helps to reduce your stress level. Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries—all of these berries contain a great deal of antioxidants. Blueberries carry the antioxidant anthocyanin, that is known for all kinds of positive health outcomes. On the other hand, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries—these are rich in vitamin C, another antioxidant, that is proven to be very helpful and effective in combating stress.
2. Cashew Nuts
Zinc deficiency is linked to depression and anxiety. Cashews nuts are excellent source of zinc which is directly useful for mental health. Zinc helps to release the stressful stimulation and restore energy level. Since our bodies are not capable of storing zinc, it’s important to get some zinc in our body system on a daily basis in order to reduce stress level. Other good sources of zinc are walnuts, squash and sunflower seeds, and oysters.
3. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea is one of the most recommended bedtime soothers for individuals who deal with huge amount of stress or are severely depressed. Chamomile is a kind of tiny daisy-like flowers that have nerve-calming effect. Adding chamomile in tea helps to soothe, improves mood, helps the brain to relax and suppresses anxiety. It is encouraged to drink this tea regularly as it seems to work better the longer it is used.
Dark chocolate (not the regular sugary chocolate) is mainly known for releasing serotonin from our body and relaxing the blood vessels of the cardiovascular system. Besides that, chocolate has healthy antioxidants—polyphenols and flavonols—that are undeniably linked to inducing positive moods. Having some chocolate after a long stressful day may help relax your nerves and muscles, and certainly make you feel better.
Tomatoes contain a great amount of folate, alpha-lipoic acid, and antioxidants, all of which are very necessary for fighting depression. Eating tomatoes even 2 to 4 times a week was shown to be effective in chasing away the blues. Scientists are not sure which antioxidants in tomatoes are helpful for mental health but it certainly was proven to be helpful, when other vegetables tested did not show such results.
Avocado is rich in magnesium, healing fatty acids and folate, all essential ingredients for maintaining the health of the neurotransmitters in the brain. It also has high glutathione level, a substance that our bodies no longer produce due to our faulty diet. It is an anti-inflammatory and is superior in fighting oxidative stress that often leads to brain fog. Glutathione from foods like avocado is necessary for preventing further oxidative damage and possibly reversing depression.
7. Green Vegetable Juices
How does green vegetable juices end up on this anti-depression food list? Drinking green juices daily helps to improve digestive health, reduce blood acidity, improve blood circulation and overall well being. A healthy digestive system strengthens your immune system that helps bring your body back to balance, thus reducing stress. Read more about vegetable juicing here.
8. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt has been known to help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. Brain fog and depression are often linked to low blood sugar levels and Greek yogurt can be the sustainable energy source. This yogurt is a great source of protein, which helps produce the dopamine and norepinephrine to the neurotransmitters that are responsible for transmitting the right messages in the brain.
Although sunshine is not a physical “food”, it is “food”to the soul and so necessary to lift up one’s mood. Exposure to sunlight boosts serotonin levels in the brain. Sunlight is an anti-depressant that is easiest to absorb and in abundance for free. When you’re out in the sun, the sunlight sends a signal to the part of your brain that regulates production of serotonin and melatonin. This process helps relieve stressful feelings and produces a general sense of well-being. Sunshine, or bright light works better, faster and more naturally than medication, with no side effects.
Adding these nine “foods” to your regular diet will not only ensure a sound health but will also enhance the peace of your mind by reducing stress level and suppressing depression. These foods are better than any medication or pills because these are natural and free from artificial and toxic components.
Also read: Top 10 Brain Foods For Brain Health.