Depression and Diet

When you’re feeling down and in the dumps linking your diet to your mood might not be the obvious thing. But the reality is that we are what we eat.

Changing your diet might just make a huge improvement in how you feel.

Some people may be more accustomed to reaching out for prescription antidepressants and natural medication, but the fact is that your diet may be the easiest, fastest and safest way to make a change in how you are feeling.

There are significant links between what we put in our bodies and how we feel not only physically but emotionally also.Depression and What you Eat image-37

For example, serotonin is a naturally occurring chemical in our bodies that has a significant effect on both our mood and appetite. Most of the antidepressants in the market today work by raising the serotonin levels in the brain.

A diet that is rich in tryptophan and tyrosine boost the serotonin in your brain because they are large chain amino acids that are precursors to serotonin.

Basically, raising your serotonin is equal to raising your spirit!

Depression and Diet Broccoli brilliance (176

So here’s a list of some of the foods that are chock-full of goodies for your brain, stock up on these and make sure that your diet is a healthy and balanced one .

High Serotonin Concentration
Bananas
Kiwi
Pineapple
Plantains
Plums
Tomatoes

Moderate Serotonin Concentration
Avocado
Black Olives
Broccoli
Cantaloupe
Cauliflower
Dates
Eggplant
Figs
Grapefruit
Honeydew melon
Nuts & Legumes
Whole Grains
Spinach

Depression and Diet Broccoli by sk8geek

 

A recent study surveyed Japanese adults and found that those who drank four or more cups of green tea each day were 44% less likely to have symptoms of depression. There are certain compounds in green tea that have anti-inflammatory and anti-stress effects, which in turn could curb the development of anxiety or depression symptoms.

Depression and Diet Green (tea) by Ykmm85

There is also a list of foods that you should avoid, such as: alcohol, coffee, sweets and fatty foods. These may temporarily make you feel good as your energy soars from the caffeine or sugar, but the effects are short-lived. All of these can worsen mood swings and exacerbate the feelings of anxiety and depression.

Experiment with your diet, try changing it up and eliminating the obvious ‘bad’ foods and begin to mix in a variety of vegetables and fruits. If you’re not used to eating your veggies then try to introduce them into your daily diet in another way.

Fruit juices, green or fruit smoothies and fruit salads might work better for you.

There is an infinite variety of cookbooks that focus on a healthy and balanced diet, get yourself one and start some new habits. Eat in a very healthy manner for at least a month and see if you feel a difference.

Diet and Depression - CookbookThe Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook
I’ve basically simplified my ‘cuisine strategy’ and bought this one book that I really like. I try out the different recipes, and stick to the ones I like, while exploring other ones when I’m in the mood for something different. The options in the book are all super-healthy, plus it’s full of incredibly valuable information about diet and food.

It could be that eating the wrong foods is what is causing our emotional and physical problems.

It sounds scary, but this could very well be true. Change your diet to a healthier one, and you might just see a huge improvement in your life with that alone!
 

A Personal Story About the Role Diet Plays in Depression

I grew up in a very normal suburban U.S. household. We ate run-of-the mill foods, many of which were processed and full of artificial flavors, colors and preservatives. It was a very normal after-meal experience for me to go through a wild rush of energy followed quickly by a major crash.

When I left my home in the South for college in California, I entered a West Coast world full of much more awareness of healthy eating.

Eventually, I started trying out new ways of eating to see how I felt. A little more salad here, a little less cookies and cake there. I didn’t adopt any particularly drastic changes, but I did steadily experiment and explore different ways of eating. I even experimented with a few months of vegan diet.

Now, before I say much more about how changing your diet can help you cure depression naturally, I do need to make it absolutely clear that I’m not a trained nutritionist or healthcare professional. I’m just one man who noticed a very close connection between the foods I eat and how I feel physically and emotionally. Always consult with your doctor before you make any major changes in your diet.

If you want to heal your depression naturally through dietary changes, then here are some of the things I recommend you try starting out:

  • Reduce/Eliminate all Artificial Flavors, Colors, Preservatives
  • Reduce/Eliminate all processed foods (including so-called “natural” processed foods)
  • Increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Eat Salad Every Day
  • When You’re Ready, Give Your Body a Rest through Cleansing and Fasting

When I began implementing these changes in my diet, the effects were striking. No, it wasn’t easy. There was a challenging transition period during which I was adjusting to the changes I was making.

But once I came through the cravings and withdrawal symptoms of giving up various artificial ingredients, I noticed several profound differences:

  1. I was much less prone to wild swings in energy and mood. My energy levels evened out. After eating, I no longer experienced wild up- and downswings.
  2. I was able to concentrate more easily for longer periods of time. This effect is related to my energy levels evening out. I simply had more ability to stay calm and still and focused on a single thing for longer.
  3. My depressive thoughts and feelings eased. As I ate healthier and felt healthier, that healthiness started to outweigh some of my depression.

Those results emerged after a few weeks of cutting out all artificial ingredients. However, there was still plenty more that I wanted to try.

In ensuing years, I experimented heavily with different dietary approaches to find the one that worked best for me.

In the end, I believe that every single person is different, and the needs of your body are unique and distinct. You have to learn to listen to your body and give it what it needs.

For my body, my ideal dietary program involves lots of fresh fruits, fruit smoothies, a variety of vegetables, plenty of salads, natural foods that are predominantly unprocessed and occasional fasts and cleanses to give my body a chance to rest and eliminate toxins.

Diet and Natural Cures for Depression JuicerThe Jack Lalanne Juicer
A good, reliable juicer has also made this much easier: I’ve never tried the fancy hundreds-of-dollars kind of juicer, but I can tell you that my affordable yet strong juicer has made it through the years and has made drinking fruit and veggies juices easier, and better tasting.


The Blendtec Juicer
If you can permit yourself a little luxury, then this one is well worth it. The Blendtec is the big daddy of all blenders; you can depend on it to never break down, to blend and smooth to perfection, and to be your new juicer-smoothie best friend. This is the juicer that the professionals use, and for good reason, it’s just that awesome. I can’t say enough good things about the Blendtec, so if you’re ready for juicing and can blow off the price-tag, this juicer tops them all.

Now that you have the scoop on how to use blending to get yourself healthier in a fast and easy manner, go out there and actually try it!

Give it a shot for at least a couple of weeks. Alternate between green smoothies, green juices, fruit juices, and everything in between. Experiment and find your favorite blends, while getting a boost of healthy energy that will surely help out.

My recommendation to you is that if you want to see results, then decide to take your diet seriously.

There is so much confusion out there about diet. If you read around, you’ll find a hundred different contradictory opinions about what people should be eating.

Especially if you’re depressed, you can’t afford to eat poorly. You need all the high-quality nutrient-rich food you can get. Increase your intake of fresh vegetables. And give your body a rest every now and then.

Learn everything you can about healthy eating and experiment until you find what works for you–and stay open to the possibility that you might need to eat different at different times of year or in different times of your life.

A Few Recommended Resources

Here are some sensible, grounded books that you can check out in order to get more ideas about how you can make positive changes in your diet.

Again, if you’re fighting a battle with depression, I can’t overstate how important it is for you to take charge of what you put in your body. Drastic changes in your diet for the better will absolutely give you more energy in your quest to vanquish the depression demon once and for all. Good luck!

Michael Pollan Food RulesFood Rules by Michael Pollan
This no-nonsense guide discusses a very simple approach you can take toward healthy eating in your life. And Michael Pollan is a phenomenally engaging writer. Enjoy the read, make the changes, reap the rewards.

 

Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine by Gabriel CousensRainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine by Gabriel Cousens
Even if you aren’t into raw foods as a movement, there is still a ton of useful information in this guide/cookbook. The recipes in this book are killer. If you are looking for a great set of ideas for how to eat more fresh vegetables, then this is the book to get. If you can’t get into the heavy treatise in the first half, then just skip to the second half and start whipping up some of the listed recipes. The results will persuade you to at least take a look at what author Gabriel Cousens has to say about healthy eating.

The Master Cleanser by Stanley BurroughsThe Master Cleanser by Stanley Burroughs
If you are interested in entering the wild and profound world of cleansing and fasting, then the Master Cleanse is a very easy way to get started. In this cleanse, you reduce your nutritional intake to a lemonade made from fresh lemon juice, water, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. 10 days is recommended by Burroughs, but any cleanse is better than no cleanse as long as you pay very close attention to how your body reacts. This pamphlet provides a full introduction to this cleanse and its benefits.

	Healing Depression the Mind-Body Way: Creating Happiness Through Meditation, Yoga, and AyurvedaHealing Depression the Mind-Body Way: Creating Happiness Through Meditation, Yoga, and Ayurveda
Here you will find a step-by-step program based on the ancient healing tradition of Ayurveda, that focuses on eliminating the root of depression from the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of your being. There is a detailed questionnaire, which identifies which archetype most represents your experience with depression, and then there is a tailor-made health program to combat that particular experience. All the areas of yoga, meditation, exercise, breathing, sleeping and diet are covered.