Healing Foods for Depression

If you or a loved one suffers from depression, you would probably go to any lengths to treat it.  Well, it may not be as hard as you think.  You may be able to help alleviate — if not cure — depression with natural healing foods.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, over 20 million Americans will, in any given year, suffer from a mood disorder.  It’s not hard to notice; most people can easily name a friend or relative who suffers from depression.  And the condition seems to be on the rise. The personal, societal, and economic toll is substantial.

If you’ve been wondering what’s causing the rise in depression, well, so was I.  So, I did a little research.  I assumed that “modern life” was probably at the root of things. Life can be stressful.  But, surprisingly, I found that there’s a growing belief among many that the aspect of modern life that may be causing the increase in depression may not be the pace or demands, it may be the diet.

What in a Diet Leads to Depression?

In her book Healing Depression: A Holistic Guide, Catherine Carrigan lists ten common dietary substances that are likely to contribute to depression.  They include:

* Anything moldy, malted, or fermented.
* Anything processed.
* Anything dried or aged.
* Anything made with sugar or honey.
* Anything made with yeast.
* Any meat raised with antibiotics or steroids.
* Leftovers unless frozen.
* Alcoholic beverages, coffee, tea, chocolate, and colas.
* Food colorings, chemicals, preservatives, and additives.
* Tap water.

I don’t know about your diet, but a lot of those things are in mine.

In addition to the “bad foods” in the list, you may also have personal sensitivity to others, but as that is so individual, it’s something I’m not going to explore in this post.

What in a Diet Can Help Alleviate Depression?

The “bad food” list is a list of foods that are very far from a natural state.  They are stripped of the nutrients you need for health, both physical and mental.  And many of them contain substances your body doesn’t need and that are, in fact, bad for your health.

So what are some specific foods that you can incorporate into your diet that will promote mental health and help prevent or alleviate depression, that can elevate mood and increase energy?

foods high in protein
(e.g., turkey, chicken, fish)
According to Allan Magaziner, D.O. of the Magaziner Medical Center in Cherry Hill, New Jersey,  “These foods contain high levels of compounds that help produce neurotransmitters, which can elevate mood and increase energy.” (MotherNature.com)

complex carbohydrates
(e.g., oatmeal, wheat germ, brown rice, potatoes, beans and lentils)
Foods high in complex carbohydrates will help enhance the proper absorption of typtophan more effectively. They may also boost serotonin activity in the brain.

folic acid
(e.g., spinach, avocados, lentils, broccoli, oranges, asparagus)
Folic acid is often deficient in people who are depressed and it appears to have the ability to reduce the high levels of Homocysteine associated with depression.

magnesium
(e.g., spinach, chocolate, avocados, almonds, buckwheat)
Magnesium can help the symptoms of depression by acting as a muscle relaxant.

niacin
(e.g., brown rice, turkey, pomegranates)
Niacin promotes nerve cell function and is helpful in relieving feelings of anxiety and panic as well as depression.

omega-3 fatty acids
(e.g., salmon, trout, tuna)
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega 3 fatty acid that is the building block of human brain tissue. Low levels of this nutrient have been associated with depression. And naturalnews.com noted that one study found that omega-3 fatty acids and foods high in uridine reduced symptoms of depression as well as or better than three antidepressant drugs.

As I said, if you’re depressed or know someone who is, you’d try almost anything.  So don’t you think these healthy foods are worth a try?  They’ll provide lots of benefits and possibly save you the side effects and expense of treating yourself with drugs.  Of course, remember that while adding the foods to your diet is healthy, you should never stop taking any prescribed medications without consulting with your health care provider first.

Beans

Image via Wikipedia

Important Note:
While every effort is made to insure that the information in this blog is accurate, it is for information and entertainment purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your health care provider before using or taking any home remedies or supplements or following any suggestions on this site. Only your health care provider can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs.

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