Depression is a mental condition that affects more than 15 million Americans, and although the medical reasons behind the condition are still a source of much speculation and study, we do know based on empirical evidence that there are certain ways to fight it.
The old-fashioned way to battle depression is, as you probably already know, to have a psychiatrist prescribe you some medication that will alter your brain chemistry, making it secrete more of the feel-good hormones, specifically dopamine and serotonin. However, this is only a means of subduing the symptoms of depression and not actually curing it, and the problem with meds is that you can really get addicted to them.
If your depression isn’t severe enough to warrant obligatory medication, I highly suggest that you first try altering your diet, and introducing some foods that can help alleviate the symptoms of depression naturally. And although there’s no concrete, proven evidence of it, I now firmly believe that most of our health issues can be traced back to our diet, one way or another.
So before you opt out for the pill, I’d just like to say a few words about the five types of foods that best serve as a natural anti-depressive, so you can make as much an informed decision as possible.
If you’re already depressed, you should probably stay away from foods that cause mood swings and crashes. Specifically, these are foods that are high in processed sugar and sodium. On the other hand, having lots of lean protein in your diet can contribute to a much more mellow and balanced mood overall, and one of the best sources of said protein is definitely turkey.
This is because, in addition to being a very high-quality type of meat in and of itself, turkey also contains a compound called tryptophan. Tryptophan stimulates the production of serotonin within your brain, which as we know is a hormone that causes feelings of bliss and well-being.
Avocado is basically a superfood containing an incredible amount of essential nutrients such as vitamins C, K, E-12 and B. It’s also a really great choice for people who want to lose weight because it’s incredibly high in fiber (which speeds up your metabolism) and low in sugar. But the real trick with avocado is in the monosaturated fats, as studies have shown that there could be a link between improved cognitive function and sufficient levels of these healthy fats. Mono fats also increase HDL or your “good cholesterol”, which is always a plus, especially if you’re genetically predisposed to heart disease.
We all like chocolate, but those of use more conscious about our diets tend to avoid it because of its high sugar content. However, you’ll be pleased to know that dark chocolate not only contains less sugar than regular chocolate, but studies have shown that it also contributes to the secretion of serotonin within our brains, making it a healthy, natural alleviator of the symptoms of depression.
The root of depression is thought to be linked to a chemical disbalance within the brain, which means that if you’re feeling depressed, chances are your brain isn’t getting enough of a specific nutrient. If you’re a vegetarian or you dislike the taste of fish, there’s a good chance that the nutrient you’re deficient in is omega-3 fatty acids.
These essential acids are among the only lipids your body can’t synthesize on its own, so we have to get all of it from food. Fortunately, all nuts especially walnuts are loaded with omega-3’s, so make sure you incorporate them into your diet as much as possible.
Green tea is full of essential antioxidants that help fight free radicals within your body, and therefore protect you from diseases such as cancer and diabetes. However, when it comes to alleviating symptoms of depression, the trick is in an amino acid called theanine that can be naturally found in green tea.
Theanine has powerful anti-stress properties that can relieve excess tension and leave you feeling relaxed and at ease, which is always beneficial for people suffering from anxiety and depression.