Wholefood Medicine for Depression

Research has shown that depressed people often lack a fatty acid known as EPA. Participants in a 2002 study featured in the Archives of General Psychiatry took just a gram of fish oil each day and noticed a 50-percent decrease in symptoms such as anxiety, sleep disorders, unexplained feelings of sadness, suicidal thoughts, and decreased sex drive. I recommend you get you omega-3s through wholefoods such as walnuts, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil.

Brown Rice:
Contains vitamins B1 and B3, and folic acid. Brown rice is also a low-glycemic food, which means it releases glucose into the bloodstream gradually, preventing sugar lows and mood swings. Brown rice also provides many of the trace minerals we need to function properly, as well as being a high-fiber food that can keep the digestive system healthy and lower cholesterol. Instant varieties of rice do not offer these benefits. Any time you see "instant" on a food label, avoid it.

Nutritional Yeast:
Contains vitamins B1, B2 and B3. This superfood packs a wide assortment of vitamins and minerals in a small package, including 16 amino acids and 14 minerals. Amino acids are vital for the nervous system, which makes nutritional yeast a no-brainer for treating depression.

Whole-grain oats:
Contain folic acid, pantothenic acid and vitamins B6 and B1. Oats help lower cholesterol, are soothing to the digestive tract and help avoid the blood sugar crash-and-burn that can lead to crabbiness and mood swings. Other whole grains such as kamut, spelt and quinoa are also excellent choices for delivering brain-boosting nutrients and avoiding the pitfalls of refined grains such as white flour.

Contains vitamin C and folic acid. Cabbage protects against stress, infection and heart disease, as well as many types of cancers, according to the American Association for Cancer Research. There are numerous ways to get cabbage into your diet; toss it in a salad instead of lettuce, use cabbage in place of lettuce wraps, stir fry it in your favorite Asian dish, make some classic cabbage soup or juice it. To avoid gas after eating cabbage, add a few fennel, caraway or cumin seeds before cooking.

Yellow foods especially Bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier. They are literally good mood foods.


Things to avoid

If you feel you are depressed or at risk for depression, you also need to avoid certain foods and substances. Some commonly prescribed drugs -- such as antibiotics, barbiturates, amphetamines, pain killers, ulcer drugs, anticonvulsants, beta-blockers, anti-Parkinson's drugs, birth control pills, high blood pressure drugs, heart medications and psychotropic drugs -- contribute to depression. If you are taking any of these, don't quit them without talking to your doctor; but be aware that they may be contributing to your condition by depleting your body of depression-fighting vitamins and minerals.

You should also avoid caffeine, smoking and foods high in fat and sugar. Keeping your blood sugar stable and getting B vitamins is important for stabilizing your mood. Dark chocolate can be good for mood because it releases endorphins in the brain, but watch out for milk chocolate and candy varieties high in sugar.


Other non-food things to do

  • Get plenty of sunshine. Natural sunlight is a proven cure for depression. Light is said to affect our receptors in the brain that produce serotonin, which affects mood. When a person lacks full spectrum light, rainbow colors and near ultraviolet light of sunlight, depression or low mood may be a possibility.
  • Engage in regular exercise at least three times per week. Exercise lifts mood and alters brain chemistry in a positive way
  • Experience laughter. It's truly is the best medicine.
  • Vibrational Medicine, such as crystal bowl healing, is being studied at New York University, Cornell University and in 36 medical centers around the world right now. Our body is a physical energetic system. Forms of sound, color, light, toning and music have the capacity to tune up and balance the energy and physical systems, making it more efficient. Pain is eased, stress reduced and depression lifted. Personalities liven up and become more vibrant. The mind becomes clearer, resulting in increased creativity and ability to make major decisions. The emotions become more stable. The spirit is more peaceful giving you greater joy and better health


Information sourced from The Farmacist Desk Reference by Don Tolman

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