- Depression is still the most overlooked and underrated issue in the World constituting one of the major reason for suicides in the recent years
- Research proves a major role of nutrition or the effect of the food we consume in combating depression biologically
- Eating healthy and balanced can be the first step towards self-treatment prior to seeking help
Ahmedabad, July 30, 2017: Sadness and loneliness have become rampant in the urban lifestyle but it can be dodged with few simple tricks. Depression is much more than momentary grief or sadness.
There are 7 stages of depression and the symptoms of depression are visible prominently. Many of us remain clueless when it comes to dealing with depression. It is a state of low mood and abhorrence to activity that can contribute to a person’s inner bliss, contentment and sense of well-being.
People with a depressed mood may also feel particularly hopeless, helpless, despondent, self-persecuted or worthless. To many, it may sound like a fancy term with no meaning. Mental health, one of the most important things in life is the least talked about issue.
According to WHO, more than 300 million people are suffering from depression globally. It is the root cause of distress, disability, and suicide all around the world. Unfortunately, India ranks first in unipolar depressive disorders.
Depression has been linked to problems or imbalances in the brain, specifically with the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. In the 1960s, the “catecholamine hypothesis” was a popular explanation for depression. According to this hypothesis, a deficiency of the neurotransmitter, norepinephrine in certain regions of the brain was responsible for depression.
Lack of support of people from society combined with a fear of social stigma; prevent many from seeking the treatment they need, to live a happy, healthy and productive lives. The effective treatments include therapies, medications and lifestyle changes. Nutrition forms an inevitable part of our lifestyle.
The relationship between food, mind and soul and its effect on Vedic Chakra System, the seven energy centers or chakras within our body is well reported. The Root Chakra is majorly associated with mental health and an imbalance can cause depression and anxiety attacks. Feeding our chakras is the sole most priority for a happy life. Healthy foods are natural anti-depressants and can boost mental health by releasing GABA, serotonin, and dopamine.
Here are 8 foods which can boost your mood and help you fight depression and give it a backseat:
Countries with high fish consumption such as Japan, China, and Peru have the lowest depression rate in comparison to countries with lower fish consumption such as North America. Depression has been linked to suboptimal levels of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Cold-water fatty fishes like salmon and sardines are the best dietary source of Omega-3. Deficiency of omega-3, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is linked to depression and mental disorder. Vegetarians can replace fish or fish oil with flax (Alsi) seeds in fruits and salads as an alternative source.
The reason behind that delicious and sleep stealer Thanksgiving dinner is due to the presence of tryptophan in the Turkey which happens to be the precursor of serotonin in our brain which in turn produces melatonin responsible for the post-Thanksgiving coma and uplift our mood. However, vegans can find better alternatives to turkey in soy, pumpkin, walnuts, tomato, potato, mushrooms, cucumber and leafy greens.
Tryptophan is a magical amino acid (building blocks of protein) having multiple benefits such as relieving depression, anxiety, irritability, stress, behavioral problems and premenstrual syndrome. It can be found in tofu, cheese, mushrooms, and potatoes as well.
Quinoa is the seed of Chenopodium plant (Bathua) but as it is not an indigenous crop, it is not found in India. Indians then can use similar substitutes such as millets, brown rice, and buckwheat. Quinoa is a gluten-free replacement. It is rich in protein, magnesium, B vitamins, zinc, iron, phosphorus, and Omega-3 which helps in the release of serotonin and can make you sleep faster. The high magnesium content of quinoa controls blood pressure, mood disorders, and PMS. A happy mood is all which comes with a pack of Quinoa seeds.
4. GREEN TEA
Good news for the tea drinkers! Not only the antioxidants present in the tea but also the presence of an amino acid known as theanine having depression fighting properties makes them euphonious negating the effect of caffeine. EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) is another active component present in green tea which is proven to combat depression.
5. SWEET POTATO
Gluten and mental health are associated. The theory suggests that the damage from gluten in the digestive system allows substances to leak out from the stomach and migrate to the brain, which some could call depression. Foods like sweet potatoes, eggs, rice, fruits, vegetables, and beans are naturally gluten-free and great sources of nutrition. Sweet potatoes are a fantastic source of complex carbohydrate, high in vitamin B6 that contains L-tryptophan.
Rather than munching on sweets and simple carbohydrates, choose complex carbohydrates, such as those found in fruits and vegetables, whole-grain foods and legumes must be consumed. The body converts carbohydrates into glucose more slowly than simple carbohydrates which result in less of blood sugar rise.
6. GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES
Moms were always right when they said, “Hari sabzia khaao!” (Eat green vegetables) and Popeye’s love for spinach was not unreasonable. Green vegetables are a rich source of Vitamin C and B. Vitamin plays a key role in your brain health. Vitamins that are particularly important for brain include Vitamin C, Vitamin D and B Complex Vitamins. They are high in magnesium, B vitamins and they promote a happy mood naturally because they contain soul and mind enriching properties by nature.
Chocolates are always the answers to everything irrespective of the question! Chocolates have the best mood boosting effects! All the chocoholics tend to eat more of them as a part of self-treatment when feeling depressed. Moreover, depression stimulates chocolate cravings for unrelated reasons, without a treatment benefit of chocolate. While chocolate itself might cause a mood boost, certain ingredients added during manufacturing, such as trans fats, could nullify or even reverse the mood benefits, according to a research.
A healthy mind gives rise to a healthy body. Want to make this your mantra?
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