Junk food, comfort food, high calorie foods - they could be contributing not only to your waistline but also to your depression. Many mental health conditions occur or are made worse through the foods we eat. Yet, most people do not make this connection. Not doing so could mean the risk of missing the health improvements that foods can bring. In fact, the right diet could easily help encourage improvement of some of your symptoms.
What's the Link?
According to some reports, a poor diet can make you more susceptible to depression. In a study conducted in the UK, more than 3000 middle-aged workers were monitored for a period of five years. They looked at both depression and diet during the study. The study indicated that those who ate junk food were more likely to have depression symptoms.
Is that good or bad news?
What is junk food? In short, this particular study looked at foods that were highly processed, including meats, sweets, fried foods, foods with refined sugars such as cereals, high fat dairy and chocolate. How many of those are in your must-have list in any given day? If you are struggling with depression, there could be a link here.
That's Good News
For those who suffer from depression, the understanding of this link could be incredibly helpful. The study also found that those who had a diet that was rich in fruits and vegetables, as well as fish, had fewer reported symptoms of depression. A healthy diet can help protect against depression. For those who suffer from debilitating depression or other mood disorders, it is critical to investigate all types of links to your condition, including your diet.
A Diet that Fights Depression
What can you do about it? If you want to fight off the depression symptoms you have, do continue to follow your doctor's direction in taking medications. However, boost the effectiveness and your overall health by consuming a diet that is going to help you to fight off ailments. Here are some tips to help you fight depression with food - that is a great way to do it - from WebMD.
- Eat a diet that is rich in B-vitamins. Those who have low B vitamin levels often will have the highest number of symptoms of depression. This includes getting more folic acid, B2, B6 and B12 in your diet. The highest dosage of these comes from fruits, nuts, legumes, and whole grains.
- Consume foods with more amino acids in them. Specifically, look for those foods with more tryptophan in them. This amino acid works to help the release of the brain chemical serotonin. That is the feel good chemical many with depression struggle to get enough of. You will find this type of amino acid in beans, fish, lean meats, and eggs.
- Getting enough carbohydrates in your diet is important, but it needs to be the right type. Your body needs the nutrition from carbs to stimulate the brain and to provide cells with energy. Consume those from whole grains. Avoid processed foods, "white" pastas and breads and potatoes, though, as these cause a sugar spike in your bloodstream which leads to a variety of health concerns.
- Get more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. This nutrient is critical for maintaining overall health. It is found in cold-water fish or you can get it in supplement form. It can stimulate brain function and health in most people.
- Get a rainbow of vegetables in your diet on a regular basis. Perhaps the most important and the simplest thing to do is to eat a variety of vegetables. The colors of fruits and vegetables represent the nutrients in them. By eating a wide variety of them, you are getting the nutrition your body needs for mental health.
Does this mean you have to give up those foods you love? Comfort foods and decadent deserts need to be eaten on a limited basis. Use them as a reward once a week, not an everyday must-have menu item. You can love food and use it to your advantage if you simply know how.
For those with depression, having access to a nutrient-rich diet is not only good for you but it can help to improve your quality of life. Dive in to new foods you have not tried. Boost the nutrition your body needs and your brain may just like it, too. Depression does not have to be just about medications.
The article has been written by Aishwarya Vohra. She advocates the use natural products and organic foods for a healthy body and mind.