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Fight Depression through Diet
September 07, 2013 by:
Sapna Chaurasia Points: 12
Feeling blue? try taking help of your diet to stay happy and calm the mind and keep distance from the damaging consequences of depression.
Depression is a psychological disorder that is growing at a fast pace. People who are sad or depressed find it difficult to work properly on a daily basis, lack driving force, are not confident and are under the clouds of worthlessness and guilt.
Depression requires a long term and proper medication and cannot be treated alone through diet. It is true that the food we eat have a direct impact on how we feel mentally and physically and therefore a proper diet can be made an essential part of the depression management. The right kind of food can be a right step in a positive direction to curb this mental state.
Food that is enriched with essential components is vital not only for the body but also for the mental well being. Deficiency of certain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fatty acids and proteins can interfere with the proper functioning of the brain. Brain need food as a fuel to function properly and to maintain its health to keep our mind at happy state.
A diet high in vital nutrients like vitamins, fats, carbohydrates and proteins are required for the body's growth, repair and wellness and for our brain to work at full capacity to keep mental states like sadness, anxiety and depression away and improve our mood.
Diet full of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are a vital component of our diet and protect our body from the harmful effects of the free radicals. These free radicals are produced in our body during its normal functions and contribute to aging and dysfunction. Along with our body brain is also at risk of the damaging effects of free radicals. Since there is no way to remove the free radicals from the body completely their destructive power can be minimized to an extent with the help of diet containing antioxidants. The antioxidants supplied through food tie up with the free radicals and protect the brain from their harmful impact. Antioxidants that potentially fight free radicals are vitamin C, E and beta carotene.
Food rich in antioxidants
Avocados - beta carotene, vitamin E
Citrus fruits - like oranges contains vitamin C
Berries - contains anthocyanin, sharpens cognition and have positive health outcomes.
Oatmeal - contains antioxidant properties along with serotonin, a feel good chemical that help in overcoming stress.
Dark Chocolates - contains important antioxidants like polyphenols and flavonols. Polyphenols help prevent memory loss, improve neural connections and overall health of the brain.
Green Leafy Vegetables - rich in Vitamin C
Eat Fish for Omega 3 Fatty Acids
It has been proven that people with a diet deficient in essential fatty acids have depressive disorders. Most important sources of omega 3 fatty acids are fatty fishes and thus should be consumed on a regular basis.
Food rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acid
Fatty Fishes - like salmon, tuna and mackerel. Also contains DHA for healthy functioning of the brain.
Walnuts - rich in essential fatty acids like alpha linolenic acid and magnesium that help production of serotonin thus boosting the mood.
Get strength from Protein Rich Food
Protein is an essential building block of our body and brain and boost its alertness. Proteins are actually made up of essential amino acids that are building blocks of our brain chemicals. Since these amino acids are not manufactured in our bodies these should be provided through our diet. An important amino acid tryptophan is converted into serotonin a feel good chemical and a neurotransmitter, low levels of serotonin are associated with difficulty in dealing with stress.
Another important amino acid is a tyrosine that boost level of brain chemicals like dopamine and norepinephrine. These chemicals increase alertness and help in concentration.
Food rich in Protein
Tuna, chicken, turkey, lean beef
Low fat cheese, milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, poultry
Beans and peas
Eat healthy dose of Selenium rich food
Researches have shown that there is an association between selenium intake and poorer mood. Lower selenium in diet is responsible for the incidence of depression and other negative mental states like anxiety, confusion and hostility. The recommended amount of selenium in the diet should be 55 micrograms for adults, more than this can be toxic and thus harmful for the body.
Food Rich in Selenium
Beans and Legumes
Nuts and seeds
Low fat dairy products
Seafood and lean meat
Ensure the intake of Vitamin B
Vitamin B rich diet not only provide energy to the brain to function at optimum level but can also be referred to as anti stress nutrients that help to relieve stress and anxiety.
The vitamin B folate is an essential component of a diet that has a powerful role in combating depression. Vitamin B6 and B12 improve neural function hence these nutrients help to lessen the severity of depression symptoms. Niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), and folic acid (B9) associate with tryptophan to produce a feel good neurochemical serotonin that is necessary to keep the mood in good state.
Food Rich in Vitamin B
Legumes and Wholegrains
Green leafy Vegetables like Cabbage
Eggs, chicken, red meat
Nuts and Seeds
Fuel for brain through Complex Carbohydrates
Our mood directly depends on the way carbohydrates are converted into sugar in our body. Carbohydrates are converted into sugar which act as a fuel for the brain to function. Hence it is necessary that our brain gets a steady and gradual supply of energy, any fluctuation in sugar level in the blood can cause fluctuation in mood.
A diet that is high in sugar, white and processed carbohydrates cause sudden fluctuation in the amount of glucose in the blood flow, this uneven supply of energy result in irritability, fluctuating mood and anxiety. Opt for healthy complex carbohydrates high in fiber which are slow to digest and release energy slowly and gradually for a calming effect on the brain.
Food rich in Complex Carbohydrates
Wholegrain, oats, brans, cereals, beans, pulses and lentils.
Follow Mediterranean type Diet
It has been found that people living in the Mediterranean region have lower incidence of depressive disorders. The credit is given to their balanced diet and healthy eating patterns. The Mediterranean diet is composed of healthy food options like fruits, nuts, vegetables, cereals, legumes and fishes. This kind of diet provides all the required nutrients like omega 3 fatty acids, essential fatty acids from fishes, antioxidants from olive oil and nuts, flavonoids, phytochemicals, natural foliates and vitamin B from plants and fruits. This type of diet is healthy for overall physical and mental wellbeing and hence help in relieving the symptoms of stress and depression.
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