The human body is perhaps one of the most complex machinery and is beyond complete understanding. We are still trying to understand how different foods affect different bodies. What we eat can affect how we feel. It can change our mood, bring happiness or heaviness to our hearts and can definitely affect us in ways we are not even aware of.
Dealing with depression
Depression creates in a person a sense of sadness and hopelessness. This can arise from a variety of reasons ranging from illness and stress to malnutrition or the malfunction of a neurotransmitter. Most times it is a combination of several reasons that causes depression in a person. If you are someone who feels low quite often or have been diagnosed with depression, it is first and foremost essential that you get professional help. A psychiatrist will be able to evaluate you and advice you in case you are in need of medication and therapy.
Diet and depression
Depression is however, a mental condition that can be affected by what we consume. No diet can cure depression, but certain foods can definitely aid in boosting the metabolism and providing chemicals required to minimize the symptoms of depression and help the healing process.
Depression diet plan
The rule of thumb here is to include in your diet as many natural products as you can. Fresh vegetables, fish and chicken and vital pulses like chickpea will aid in boosting the body's nutritional values. Vegetables, especially green vegetables deliver iron and folic acid that is essential and can help alleviate certain symptoms of depression.
Antioxidants found in fresh vegetables and fruits also greatly boost the body's ability to cleanse the system and fight off the destructive effect of other foods.
Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and are thus important. This can be found in fish oils and foods such as salmon, tuna, flaxseed and walnuts. The vitamins in the 'B' family (B1, 2, 3 and 6) are essential to maintaining hormonal balance and nerve cell function. These can be found in foods such as red kidney beans, yellow corn, brown rice, wheat, oats and pomegranates.
Protein rich foods like fish and chicken help in increasing the levels of certain amino acids in the body, especially tyrosine that has a direct affect in boosting the levels of certain brain chemicals.
A stable sugar level will also aid greatly in avoiding mood swings. Thus, avoiding refined carbohydrates and sugars and eating more complex carbohydrates that digest slowly will help in maintaining a healthy sugar level in the body. Oats, brown rice, whole wheat bread are examples of complex carbohydrates.
Chocolate or cacao has also been known to elevate a person's mood. While this is true, it would be best to stick to dark chocolate, as it has the properties of the chocolate rather than the sugar that helps. Do avoid milk chocolates and ice creams as they are high in sugar and may cause an imbalance after the sugar rush disappears.
Foods to avoid
Decrease your intake of alcohol and caffeine as they affect the mood severely and may cause imbalances as their effect wears off. Any food that has been heavily processed, high in sugar or is 'instant' should be avoided. Skipping meals is also highly unadvisable as it can affect sugar levels in the body and have an adverse effect on your mood.
As always the focus is on a healthy wholesome diet that is well balanced and smart. While the aim of a diet is usually to lose weight or control the symptoms of a physical illness, it is becoming more evident these days that what we eat can affect how we feel as well. And as always, some exercise and plenty of sunshine will give you immediate and positive results as you take on depression.