Understanding Depression and Diet

Is it possible that there could be a link between mental illnesses, such as depression, and diet? The answer to this question is yes. All foods that you eat will either impact you in a positive or negative way, and may even cause depression. 

What is Depression?

Depression is a disorder of the mind that affects your moods and self-esteem as well as family and social lives. If you’re depressed you may find yourself unable to cope with your daily life to the point where making any type of decision becomes a nightmare. As a result you may avoid social interactions whenever possible. 

When not dealt with in a timely manner depression can leave you in an isolated state of mind, and may often lead to suicide or thoughts of suicide. Therefore, it is important for you to seek help as soon as possible. It is just as important for others around you to try and understand what depression is.

Linked to Unhealthy Diet

Research has shown that there is a link between depression and an unhealthy diet. Food can be a mood lifter, thus it causes many to turn to alcohol, sugar and other processed foods to help alleviate the symptoms of depression. However, what you may not realize is that these foods only provide a temporary moment of bliss, and can leave you feeling worse than you did before.

If you find that you are depressed, you should stay away from foods that are high in saturated fats and sugar, processed foods, and alcohol. Instead, opt for fresh fruits and vegetables.

The Studies

Studies reveal that there are many foods that help to improve and stabilize moods swings to prevent you from slipping into a depressed state of mind. These are foods that are high in tryptophan and antioxidants.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain that naturally helps you to relax and feel good. It is produced by an amino acid known as tryptophan, which can be found in foods such as dark chocolate, turkey, whey protein powder, nuts and seeds.

Antioxidants can be found in all types of fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes, garlic and kale, as well as nuts and seeds.

Studies show that those who have suffered from depression had lower levels of magnesium and had lower intakes of polyunsaturated fats, antioxidants and vitamin B12. Magnesium is found in foods such as spinach, broccoli, green beans, whole grains and pumpkin and squash seeds. Polyunsaturated fats and antioxidants can be obtained from avocados, olives and acai berries. Vitamin B12 is mainly found in animal proteins, but your body is also able to produce its own B12 vitamins when you consume enough raw foods, and avoid processed foods.

Make Gradual Changes

You do not have to change your diet overnight, as this can result in unhealthy eating habits such as binging. Instead make small but permanent changes towards a healthier diet so that you can adapt to it both physically and emotionally. This will help to naturally stabilize your moods so that you can gradually ease out of your state of depression.

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