Food nutrients affect our mood. And depression along with other mental illnesses, whatever the triggering factor, aggravate when key vitamin, mineral and other nutritional requirements are absent from our dietary habits.
|Food and depression|
|Tryptophan and proteins|
|Minerals and water|
|Omega-3 and uridine|
Depression is the most common mental disorder in the western world and it is characterized by an all-encompassing low mood accompanied by low self-esteem, and loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities.
Nutrients that we are deficient in may worsen depression: Dehydration is a typical example, considering that our brain is made of 80% water; on the other hand there are many nutrients that specifically help fight off depression. Among these are omega-3 fatty acids, uridine, magnesium, zinc, tryptophan, B-vitamins like folate, thiamine and pyridoxine, iron, vitamin C and complex carbohydrates.
Not feeling good about yourself and lack of meaningfull social relationships can be a major cause of depression however good your dietary habits might be. But remember that there is no single cause of depression.
- Genes (some types of depression tend to run in families).
- Brain chemistry and structure (when chemicals in the brain are not at the right levels).
- Environmental and psychological factors (trauma, loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship and other stressors).
Counseling/group therapy, an active social life and support combined with sound nutrition and exercise are the safest methods to combat depression.
Antidepressant medication is not the best solution since it influences the entire organism, not just the brain, and a series of severe side effects like sexual dysfunction, weight gain, sleeping disorders and even suicide in younger people are very common.
The food we eat is very important to how we feel. And the balanced mix of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids and fiber truly helps people suffering with depression.
As an example, and according to MIT nutritional researcher and author Judith Wurtman, PhD, complex carbs can help soothe depression symptoms by boosting our levels of serotonin: Our bodies make serotonin when we eat foods such as pasta, rice and potatoes on their own.
- Food, mood and appetite; Peter J. Rogers
- The treatment of depression in general practice; Thomson J, Rankin H, Ashcroft GW, Yates CM, McQueen JK, Cummings SW
- Serotonin, Carbohydrates, and Atypical Depression; Svend Erik Møller
- Know Your Fats; The Weston A. Price Foundation.
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids in the Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders Drugs; M. Peet and R. Stokes.
- Omega-3 fatty acids and uridine; William Carlezon and Perry Renshaw.
- Psychological distress and diet; L. Christensen.
- Defining iron-deficiency anemia in public health terms: reexamining the nature and magnitude of the public health problem; Stoltzfus RJ.
- Vitamin and mineral supplements. Wellness and Prevention; Hamrick I, Counts SH.
- Hypozincemia in depression; Maes M, D'Haese PC, Scharpé S, D'Hondt P, Cosyns P, De Broe ME.
- The serotonin power diet; Judith Wurtman, Nina Frusztajer.
- Vitamin B12 in Present Knowledge in Nutrition; Herbert V.
- Vitamin B12, and neuropsychiatric disorders; Bottiglieri T. Folate.
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