Some Simple Solutions To Help with depression naturally
Are you interested in learning simple solutions to help with depression naturally? Here are some simple and effective ways to help you.
Our diet plays a key role in mental health. The ideal is to eat organic whole foods which have been locally grown for maximum freshness.
Avoid highly processed foods as they usually contains large amounts of sugar and unhealthy fats which are both inflammatory, and are likely devoid of nutrients.
Limit caffeine intake. Depression is associated with caffeine intake greater than 4 shots of espresso per day (700 mg).
Avoid alcohol as it is a nervous system depressant. In particular, beer should be avoided as it contains hops which could have a depressive effect on the body.
Avoid sugar. In addition to causing erratic spikes and dips in blood sugar which effects mood, sugar is one of the most inflammatory ingredients in our diet. Depression has been linked to inflammation. Keep blood sugar levels steady by eating small meals containing protein every few hours. A low Glycemic Index (GI) diet can also help stabilise blood sugar levels.
Eat plenty of prebiotic foods. These promote good gut bacteria, called probiotics, which in turn produce mood enhancing neurochemicals. Prebiotics are found in asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, onions, beans, chickpeas, lentils and supplementary fibres such as psyllium husk, pectin, guar gum and slippery elm.
Also make sure to eat plenty of traditionally cultured and fermented foods, which will help nourish beneficial bacteria in your gut (probiotics). Good examples include fermented vegetables of all kinds, including sauerkraut and kimchi, kombucha (a fermented drink).
Eat plenty of whole grains, legumes, fresh fruit and vegetables. These supply essential micronutrients and B vitamins for optimal nervous system function.
Oats are a herbal remedy used for depression but you can use them as a staple food for mood elevation. Eat them for breakfast in winter as warming porridge or as bircher muesli in the warmer months.
It may also be worth noting that a Mediterranean diet has been linked to lower levels of depression. The emphasis of the Mediterranean diet is on vegetables, legumes, fish and olive oil.
St John’s wort is probably one of the better known herbal remedies. It is well researched for its use in depression and compares well with pharmaceutical antidepressants. Make sure you talk to your health care practitioner before taking St John’s Wort as it can have serious adverse interactions with pharmaceutical drugs.
All B Vitamins are good for depression in various ways. Take a good quality multi B each day, as prescribed by your health care practitioner.
Optimising your vitamin D level by getting appropriate sun exposure (or taking a vitamin D3 supplement with vitamin K2) is another key strategy not to be overlooked.
Essential fatty acids (EPA and DHA) are essential for healthy nervous system and brain function. Take a good quality supplement equivalent to 1 g of EPA daily.
L-tryptophan is an amino acid that can convert to serotonin in the body. B3, B6 and magnesium are also necessary for this conversion.
Exercise has a huge impact on mood. Endorphins that are released during (vigorous) exercise not only dull pain but improve mood and have a tranquilizing effect. Although you won’t feel like exercising, if you make a contract with yourself to exercise 10 days in a row. You are almost guaranteed to see some improvement.
Make sure you get sun each day, especially in the winter months. Walking in the sunlight for 20 min each day is enough to activate the pineal gland which in turn stimulates endocrine glands to produce mood enhancing hormones.
Psychotherapy based on cognitive behavioural therapy can be beneficial in changing the way we consciously think about failure, defeat, loss and helplessness.
Stop cigarette smoking and illicit drug use as these reduce serotonin levels.
Avoid environmental toxins (heavy metals and solvents) as they have an affinity for nervous tissue and have been linked to mood disorders.
It might be worthwhile to get a blood test to check thyroid and iron levels as these can have an impact on mood.
Written by Peta O’Connor.