These Common Foods Help Fight Depression
The medical community has known for a long time there’s a mind, body, spirit connection that can lead to depression.
In truth, these different factors that lead to depression are all quite treatable.
When it comes to the body’s role in depression, I’m happy to report there are a number of things you can do to make depression more or less treatable.
Here’s the thing about depression. Many times people develop depression because they’re actually suffering from an imbalance or deficiency in essential nutrients. These nutrients play a pivotal role in both creating and transferring your brain’s essential neuro-chemicals; and without ingesting the proper amount of these nutrients it’s pretty easy to descend into the dark pit of depression.
Quite a few of the medicines available to treat depression work to optimize your body’s production and uptake of these essential chemicals.
If you’re looking for a natural way to balance out brain chemistry you’ll be relieved to know there are actually some tasty foods that can help.
Check out how these common foods can help with depression.
Foods That Help With Depression
Turkey: Americans love turkey.
Dang right! It tastes good, and it’s really healthy, so why wouldn’t we love it?
One of the reasons turkey helps with depression is because it’s high in the amino acid Tryptophan. Tryptophan is the chemical notorious for making you feel tired after you eat turkey (every meat eater knows that feeling after Thanksgiving).
The way it helps with depression is by helping to regulate the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin.
Serotonin is often referred to as the “happy hormone,” and people who are depressed typically have lower levels of serotonin.
A few studies have shown when you’re not getting enough tryptophan in your diet it can contribute to severe depression and irritability.
So by eating Turkey you can expect to create an increase in serotonin levels (via the tyrptophan) which would help alleviate the problem of depression.
Chlorella: You might not have heard of Chlorella before, but you’ll be glad you did after reading this.
Chlorella is a micro algae found abundantly in nature, but which is generally grown inside in safe and controlled environment.
Approximately 40% of Chlorella is protein, and protein is formed by amino acids…one of which is tryptophan. Other than tryptophan, Chlorella also contains all of the essential amino acids and these are known to help boost human growth factor as well as helping to stimulate the formation of vital neurotransmitters.
Numerous studies have shown Chlorella can help treat depression, which is why it’s an incredible resource to consider in battling this mental illness.
Green Med Info writes:
Research from the University of Western Australia in Perth has found that chlorella can significantly improve symptoms of depression.
The researchers tested 92 patients with major depressive disorder – a disorder that affects millions of people around the world.
The researchers split the patients into two groups. They gave 42 of the patients 1,800 milligrams of Chlorella vulgaris extract per day. The other 50 patients continued their standard care.
The researchers used a scale called the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) to test the patients’ symptoms of depression, along with the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II) scale. Both of these have been used in clinical settings to establish the range of depressive symptoms and the severity of the diagnosis.
After six weeks of treatment with either the standard pharmaceutical treatment or chlorella extract, the researchers found that those patients who had taken the chlorella had significantly reduced scores in both depression tests. The BDI-II scores went down by over four points and the HADS scores went down by 3.71 points.
To give some reference, the HADS scale consists of 21 points, and anything over an 8 is considered symptomatic of anxiety or depression.
In addition to reduced total scores, the researchers also saw significant reductions in some of the subset scores. For example, physical and cognitive symptoms were significantly improved in the chlorella group, and subscales for depression and anxiety were significantly lower among the chlorella group.
The researchers concluded:
“This pilot exploratory trial provides the first clinical evidence on the efficacy and safety of adjunctive therapy with CVE in improving physical and cognitive symptoms of depression as well as anxiety symptoms in patients who are receiving standard antidepressant therapy.”
Salmon: In terms of foods that are proven to support brain health, salmon is perhaps one of the most potent.
Personally, I think salmon is one of the most complete meats out there…but, it’s the way it influences balanced brain chemistry that I think really makes it stand head-and-shoulders above most other meats.
The reason salmon’s so powerful has everything to with its fat content.
Yes, you want salmon fat, and lots of it.
The reason why is salmon fat is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
All across the board studies continue to show these fats are quite capable of working to reverse depression. One clinical study noted “Omega-3 fatty acids were shown to be more effective than placebo for depression in both adults and children in small controlled studies and in an open study of bipolar depression.”
And Life Extension notes just how powerful Omega-3’s are.
Omega-3 fatty acids may also help improve mood in those who already suffer from depression. In a recent study at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, the effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation was studied in 49 patients with repeated episodes of harming themselves.
In addition to standard psychiatric care, study subjects were randomly assigned to receive 1200 mg EPA plus 900 mg DHA, or placebo, for 12 weeks. At the end of the treatment period, the group receiving omega-3 fatty acids had significantly greater improvements compared with the placebo group in scores for depression, suicidality and daily stresses.5
Furthermore, other studies suggest that people who are still depressed despite use of antidepressant medications may have reduced intensity of depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and sexual dysfunction when supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids.
Green Tea: I’ve written about Green tea before, but I think it’s worth talking about again.
The mild taste of green tea comes with an exciting benefit.
You likely know antioxidants are abundant in green-tea, however that’s not what makes it so powerful.
It’s actually an amino-acid called L-theanine that plays a role in brain health and can help remove you from those moody blues.
How exactly does it work?
In the July 2004 issue of “Complementary and Alternative Therapies” it was shown L-theanine helped the brain produce the all-important Alpha wave. The induction of these alpha waves were followed by a sense of relaxation which worked to calm the brain and promoted a resolution in feelings of depression.
Subsequent studies showed that L-theanine had positive affects on behavioral depression. “Free Radical Research” noted in a study they published that mice who were given L-theanine experienced a positive change in behavioral depression.
That’s also what “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” was able to observe. Their observations proved people who drank more than 5 cups of green tea were able to deal with psychological distress in a much more beneficial way than those who did not.
Lastly “Phytotherapy Research,” showed that L-theanine had an antidepressant effect on laboratory mice exposed to a forced swim test.” Though not conclusive in terms of depression, researchers admitted it did bode well for total brain health.
This gives you every reason to drink more green tea, doesn’t it?
Why Diet Matters For Depression
The simple fact is your diet is absolutely essential for brain health.
If you don’t eat foods that are capable of helping your brain run at its best, it could falter and you could fall into depression.
It’s also important to note things like friendships, exercise, the appreciation of art, nature, music, along with prayer and spiritual practices are also quite important at helping ease depression.
But, I like to write about food and how it can help with ailments. :)