Depression can be overcome naturally, by making changes in behavior, physical activities, and eating habits. Adopting diets rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin B, Vitamin D, Zinc, Folates, etc. can help in overcoming depression. We usually make changes in our diets to reduce weight, blood sugar, and arteries clogging cholesterol levels. But do not pay attention to the most complex and energy-consuming organ of the body – the brain.
How to overcome depression in a natural way?
Depression is a medical condition. It can drain your energy. And you may feel exhausted. It is not just laziness or a temporary response to discouragement or grief. Depression may lead to many health problems like- increased risk of heart diseases, obesity, insomnia (lack of sleep), fatigue, sleep apnea, etc. Making lifestyle changes may help to overcome depression in a natural way.
What experts say:-
As per Dr. Drew Ramsey, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia university – a poor diet is a major contributor to the epidemic of depression. Which is the top driver of disability among the age group between 15 to 44. People are overfed in calories yet starved in micronutrients necessary for our brain. Many of such micronutrients are present in plant foods.
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What is depression?
Depression is a mental health disorder, leading to sadness, loss of interest in activities. Which if not taken care of, can cause significant impairment in daily life. Possible causes can be biological, psychological, and social sources of distress. Depression can lead to many behavioral and physical symptoms. which may include changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, concentration, daily behavior, or self-esteem. Depression can be associated with suicidal thoughts.
How food can help to overcome depression?
Food changes mood– What we consume affects us both physically and mentally. As per a study published in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology. There is a link between poor diet and worsening of mood disorders including depression and anxiety. Which can be firmly established in certain cases like the impact of vitamin B12 deficiency on depression.
As per a study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine in 2019. It was found that adopting a healthier diet significantly reduced depressive symptoms associated with anxiety disorders.
Foods- that may help to overcome depression.
Omega- 3 Fatty acids to overcome depression.
Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids- eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA may help to regulate the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. Which can lead to calming and relaxing effects.
Consumption of adequate amounts of EPA and DHA may also improve your brain’s ability to adapt to changes, allowing you to take care of stressors. Which may help to combat depression.
Vegetarians can consume algae plant oil, which contains omega-3 fatty acids.
Eating bananas may help overcome depression.
Bananas are rich in tryptophan, which gets converted into serotonin. Which is a monoamine neurotransmitter, that contributes towards a feeling of well-being and happiness. The deficiency of serotonin can lead to depression. Banana plays a vital role in shoring up the amount of serotonin produced by the brain. Bananas are a rich source of vitaminB6. Our body needs vitaminB6 to make and use serotonin.
Magnesium-rich lentils to relieve stress:-
Lentils are rich sources of magnesium and fibers, which improves gut health. Research suggests that a healthy gut microbiome may be important in processing neurotransmitters like serotonin, which regulates mood.
Consumption of nuts may help in overcoming depression.
Nuts, seeds, peanuts, cashews are also rich in magnesium, which help in relaxing muscles and result in overall mental well being. Walnuts consumption is good for overall brain health. Walnuts are one of the highest plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids. They are also a great source of protein. Which may help in maintaining- a healthy and balanced blood sugar level. One study revealed that depression scores were 26% lower among those who consumed 1/4 cup of walnut per day.
Flaxseed and chia seeds addition to your diet may help to overcome depression. They are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Herbs- that may help to overcome depression.
Ashwagandha:– A few studies suggest that ashwagandha may help to overcome depression. Several controlled studies have shown that ashwagandha can reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety. In a study, it was found that 88% of persons who consumed ashwagandha reported a reduction in anxiety.
Brahmi may help to reduce stress and anxiety by reducing levels of cortisol- the stress-causing hormone. However, more studies are needed.
Foods- to be avoided in depression.
1. Sugar:- It has been suggested in many studies that consuming sweetened food and beverages may add to depressive symptoms. As per a study in London. It was found that people who consumed processed foods like sweetened desserts, fried food, and processed meat were more likely to be diagnosed with depression, in comparison with people who consumed unprocessed and whole food.
2. Caffeine:- Caffeine lowers serotonin levels in the brain, which can increase anxiety levels. According to one review in 2014 in the journal Rivista di Psichiatria, caffeine consumption could make depression worse in people who already have mood disorders.
3. Alcohol:- Negative mood-related drinking can lead to both dependence and major depression. Approximately one-third of people suffering from depression have an alcohol problem. Alcohol is a depressant. Drinking heavily may cause harm to your brain and lead to depression.
4. Smoking:- Smoking cigarettes may interfere with certain chemicals in the brain. It is a common misconception that smoking helps to relax. In fact, smoking increases anxiety and tension. Smokers have greater chances of developing depression over time. Than their non-smoker’s counterparts. Evidence suggests that quitting smoking is as effective as taking antidepressants.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Staying active and adopting a regular daily schedule of Excercise, Yoga, Meditation, Fixing sleeping hours, and engaging in social activities can help in overcoming depression.
Exercise helps to overcome depression.
Exercise helps in reducing depression. It improves overall health. Exercise also helps in reducing risks for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, insomnia, obesity, etc. It helps in releasing proteins called neurotrophic or growth factors. Which causes nerve cells to grow and make new connections.
As per Dr. Michael Craig Miller, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, “In people who are depressed, neuroscientists have noticed that the hippocampus in the brain- the region that helps regulate mood- is smaller. Exercise supports nerve cell growth in the hippocampus, improving nerve cell connections, which helps relieve depression.”
Meditation helps to reduce depression.
Meditation can help in relieving stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety are the major triggers of depression. Meditation can help in altering your reaction to strain and stress.
As per Dr.John W. Denninger, director of research at Benson- Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine at Harvard- affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, “Meditation trains the brain to achieve sustained focus, and to return that focus when negative thinking, emotions, and physical sensation intrude- which happens a lot when you feel stressed and anxious.”
Yoga helps to reduce depression.
Studies have shown that practicing yoga therapies, helps in relieving stress, anxiety, and depression. Yoga involves meditation and controlled physical movements. Focusing on deep breathing and stretching your body can help in relieving symptoms of depression like- sleeping troubles and loss of energy.
Quality sleep relieves depression.
Good quality and quantity of sleep play a vital role in relieving depression. Quality sleep provides the body the much-needed rest. It recharges our body, strengthens our immune system, and improves our focus. Quality sleep has a close link with depression.
Engaging in social activities helps in reducing depression.
Engaging in social activities may help in relieving symptoms of depression. A study published in the journal BMC Public Health shows that volunteering can ease depression and increase a sense of well-being and satisfaction. “Good relationships along with some reliable, productive outlet- such as work or volunteering- that provides some structure, extra meaning, and a certain amount of reward outside the social circle can be really helpful,” Kramer explains.
As per Ayurveda– Diet plays an important role in maintaining a balance of energies (Vata, Pitta & Kapha) within our body. By eating the right food as per our constitution, season, and surroundings. A positive energy balance is maintained. Which helps us improve our body functions and promotes overall well being.
Please consult your healthcare provider for treatment.
For awareness purposes only.
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