Overcoming Depression – Dine Nutritiously, Part 4

Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it Helen Keller

When depression raises its ugly head, it can be very difficult to feel hope. That is where faith comes in. It may not feel like having a particle of faith is any easier than having a morsel of hope but even just a grain of faith is an acceptable starting place.

Faith requires action. By now, you probably have no problem exercising faith in a light switch. You turn the light switch on and the light comes on. When you need to turn a light on, you don’t stand around and vacillate – wondering if the light switch is going to turn the light on. If, by chance, the light doesn’t come on, you realize that the light bulb probably needs replaced and you replace it. Overcoming depression will take some faith and hope.

However, though it may seem ominous and dark where you are at, currently, have hope that your health can and will change. There are steps that you can take that will help to “turn the lights on” in your life. You can:

  • exercise gratitude
  • use physical exercise
  • meditate
  • develop your relationship with God
  • eat nutritiously
  • and more…

Every step and tool you use will result in improvement. Just remember that in this world of instant expectations, your improvement will not be instantaneous. It will follow the law of the harvest. You must plant the seed(s) and then provide consistent nourishment and eventually you will have the harvest.

I hope you enjoy and learn from today’s article that I am sharing. Be sure to take some time for yourself this weekend to unwind and take care of yourself!

Find Hope Again: 13 Natural Remedies for Depression


 Common Causes & Symptoms of Depression

Depression is when a person experiences low mood persistently, to the point that it starts to interfere with her daily life. Struggling with depression can be extremely painful for both the person experiencing the symptoms and her loved ones.

The causes of depression are varied and include:

  • stress
  • unresolved emotional problems
  • neurotransmitter imbalance
  • hormonal imbalances
  • food allergies
  • alcoholism
  • nutrition deficiencies
  • lack of sunlight
  • toxicity from metals
  • toxic mold

Although depression can happen at any age, it often develops in adulthood. For example, it’s especially prevalent in middle-aged or older adults who are struggling with other serious medical issues, like cancer, diabetes or Parkinson’s disease. But other risk factors for depression include a family history of depression, taking certain medications that cause depressive side effects, major life changes, ongoing stress and trauma.

Depression can manifest with a variety of different symptoms including:

  • fatigue
  • persistent sadness
  • low mood
  • irritability
  • feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness
  • difficulty concentrating
  • difficulty sleeping
  • low sex drive
  • changes in appetite
  • weight changes
  • feelings of helplessness
  • disinterest in hobbies or activities
  • aches and pains
  • headaches
  • digestive issues
  • thoughts of death or suicide
  • attempting suicide

Conventional Treatment of Depression

Conventional treatment for depression typically involves the use of medications and/or psychotherapy. The most widely used form of medication for depression is SSRIs, or selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors, which include drugs like Celexa, Lexapro, Zoloft, Prozac and Paxil. Research shows that antidepressant medications do help patients with depression, but they work as symptom suppressors rather than cures. Once a patient is no longer taking the antidepressants, the symptoms will probably recur. In addition, antidepressant medications have serious side effects that can include suicidal thoughts, weight gain and personality changes. Another danger of psychotropic drugs like SSRIs is that they can cause neurotransmitter degradation, leading to changes in the brain.

In addition to medication, psychotherapy is another option. There are several forms of psychotherapy that can be helpful, including “talk therapy” or counseling, problem-solving therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy. A study conducted at the Ohio State University found that when cancer patients suffering from depression were asked if they would rather use individual counseling, antidepressant medications or support groups to address their symptoms, preference for individual counseling was significantly higher than the other options. Counseling can be an effective depression treatment, along with other natural remedies for depression.


13 Natural Remedies for Depression

Diet:

1. Eat a Healthy and Well-Balanced Diet

You may be surprised to learn that your food choices can have a significant impact on your mood. It’s key to eat foods that support your neurotransmitters, which are the brain’s messengers that control your mood, energy levels, appetite and several other functions in the body. Neurotransmitters are significantly influenced by the foods you put into your body.

A 2009 study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry examined the association between dietary patterns and depression. There were 3,486 participants who fell into one of two dietary categories. The first was those who ate a whole food diet, heavily loaded by vegetables, fruits and fish. Second was those who ate processed foods. These foods included sweetened desserts, fried food, processed meat, refined grains and high-fat dairy products. After five years, the participants were assessed. Researchers found that those who stuck to the whole food dietary pattern had lower odds of depression. In contrast, high consumption of processed food was associated with an increased risk of developing depression.

Eating healing foods can be transformative. Here’s a breakdown of the whole foods that should be part of your diet to prevent and treat depression:

  • Omega-3 foods: Research shows that one of the most important components of your diet in order to prevent or treat mood disorders is omega-3 foods. Your brain lipids are actually composed of fatty acids. Of those those fatty acids, 33 percent belong to the omega-3 family. That means that you need to eat omega-3s in order for your brain to function properly. Omega-3s benefit the brain by promoting communication processes and reducing inflammation. The best omega-3 foods include wild-caught fish like salmon, mackerel, herring and white fish, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, natto and egg yolks.
  • Fruits and Vegetables: A diet high in fruits and vegetables increases your intake of vital nutrients that support your mood. Fruits and veggies high in folate, for example, promote the brain’s metabolic processes and research shows that a folate deficiency can lead to depressive symptoms. Some of the top folate foods include spinach, asparagus, avocado, beets and broccoli. Your body also needs antioxidant foods to combat the biochemical changes that take place when you’re under stress. A study published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry found that antioxidant therapy for 6 weeks significantly reduced both depression and anxiety scores in observed patients. Some of the top antioxidant foods include blueberries, goji berries, blackberries, cranberries and artichokes.
  • Healthy fats: Healthy fats provide important vitamins and minerals that boost energy levels and mood. Plus, eating healthy fats helps to prevent free radical damage that may be associated with depression. But it’s important to understand that not all fats are created equal. In fact, research shows that there’s a detrimental relationship between consuming trans fats (like hydrogenated oils) and depression risk.  Stick to eating healthy fats such as avocados, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil and omega-3s like walnuts and flaxseeds.
  • Lean Protein: Eating protein is critical for supporting neurological function and balancing hormones. Protein foods also provide energy and boost our mood. We need to consume plenty of protein throughout the day because the amino acids allow for many of the body’s functions. When you don’t eat enough protein, you become fatigued, your immunity weakens and you experience moodiness. The best sources of protein include grass-fed beef, lentils, wild fish, organic chicken, black beans, yogurt, free-range eggs, raw cheese and bone broth protein powder.
  • Probiotic Foods: Eating probiotic foods increases energy levels, supports cognitive function and promotes mental wellness. Some of the top probiotic foods include kefir, yogurt, kombucha, miso, raw cheese and fermented vegetables. In fact, a great way to consume probiotics is to drink kombucha every day because it also contains enzymes and B vitamins that boost your energy levels and helps to detoxify your body.

2. Avoid Refined Carbohydrates and Sugars

Have you ever wondered why you crave refined carbohydrates and sugars when you’re feeling sad? If you tend to reach for the cookies or potato chips in tough moments, it’s because high carbohydrates foods trigger a release of serotonin, a natural opioid that acts in the brain similarly to the drug opium. Although these foods are improving your mood for the moment, they are also leading to weight gain, issues with sleep, candida overgrowth and low energy levels, making your depression symptoms worse.

An investigation conducted at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas found that sugar consumption rates were correlated with the annual rate of major depression. And a systematic review published by the American Public Health Association found that there is a significant relationship between unhealthy dietary patterns (such as eating a “Western diet” that’s made up of mostly processed foods) and poorer mental health in children and adolescents. Diets that are high in refined sugars are actually harmful to your brain because they promote inflammation and oxidative stress.

To reduce depressive symptoms by supporting the health of your brain and balancing your hormones, avoid eating packaged and processed foods that are made with refined carbohydrates and sugars. Stick to real, whole foods that are in their natural forms.

Supplements:

3. Fish Oil 

Omega-3 fats are critical for neurotransmitter function, an important component for emotional and physiological brain balance. Research published in CNS Neuroscience Therapeutics analyzed three studies that involved the treatment of depression with omega-3 fatty acids. One study compared the benefits of omega-3 therapy to placebo therapy, another study tested the effects of omega-3s on children with depression and the third study was an open-label trial using EPA to treat bipolar depression. Researchers found that omega-3s showed highly significant effects. For example, in the open-label study involving people with bipolar depression, patients who completed at least one month of follow-up achieved a 50 percent or greater reduction of depression symptoms. Fish oil supplements are a great way to ensure you are getting enough omega-3 fats.

4. Probiotics

Research shows that probiotic supplements can improve mental outlook, which is due to the gut-brain connection. Probiotics aid nutrient absorption and promote glycemic control, helping to avoid spikes and drops in blood sugar levels. But most importantly, studies show that there are direct lines of communication from the gut to the brain, so taking probiotics actually changes your behavior and brain chemistry, thereby improving cognitive function and reducing depressive symptoms.

A 2017 study illustrated the correlation between gut health and depression. Researchers analyzed 44 adults with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and mild to moderate anxiety or depression. Half of the group took a probiotic (specifically Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001), and the other was given a placebo. Six weeks after taking probiotics daily, 64 percent of the patients taking the probiotic reported decreased depression. Of the patients taking a placebo, only 32 percent reported decreased depression.

5. Vitamin D3

A systematic review and meta-analysis evaluating the efficacy of vitamin D supplement as a natural remedy for depression found that vitamin D supplementation was favorable in the management of depression because it changed vitamin levels in a way that’s comparable to antidepressant medications.

Vitamin D acts like a hormone in the body and effects brain function, which is why a deficiency is linked to an increased risk for mood disorders, including depression and seasonal affective disorder (or “winter depression”), a form of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern.

6. Adaptogen Herbs 

Adaptogen herbs are a class of healing plants that improves stress hormones and relax the nervous system. They help to balance and protect the body by reducing cortisol levels when your under any type of stress.

Two adaptogens that work as natural remedies for depression include rhodiola and ashwagandha. Rhodiola works by increasing the sensitivity of your neurons, including two neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters help to increase focus and memory, and improve mood. Ashwagandha works to combat the effects of stress, reduce anxiety and depression and balance hormones. But the best part about these natural remedies for depression is that there are no adverse side effects, as opposed to most antidepressant medications.

7. B-Complex 

B vitamins are involved in neurotransmitter function and research shows that low levels of both folate and vitamin B12 levels, in particular, are linked to depressive symptoms. This is especially true for patients who have been treated with lithium and those with alcoholism.

Vitamin B12 supports the neurological system and boosts energy levels, and folate supports nutrient absorption, helps to reduce irritability and fights fatigue. Taking a B-complex vitamin will help to produce serotonin naturally and relieve depressant symptoms, without the need for medications or toxic sugary foods.

8. St. John’s Wort

Several studies show that St. John’s wort can help to fight mild to moderate depression and anxiety. St. John’s wort works as a natural remedy for depression that can be compared to the efficacy of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a common type of antidepressant that’s prescribed today. Plus, research shows that St. John’s wort has fewer side effects than standard antidepressants.

Although researchers aren’t exactly sure how St. John’s wort works to fight depression, it’s believed that it may be associated with the herb’s ability to make more serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine available in the brain. This is important because these three neurotransmitters help to boost mood and improve the symptoms of depression. Also, if you choose to use St. John’s wort as a natural remedy for depression, do it only under the guidance of your health care provider.

Essential Oils:

9. Lavender Oil

Lavender oil helps to relieve stress, promote a feeling of peace and improve sleep. It actually has a long history of medicinal use for mood disorders because it has sedative and calming properties. Studies show that lavender oil also has neuroprotective effects. It enhances dopamine receptors and works as an antioxidant.

To use lavender oil as a natural remedy for depression, add 5–10 drops to warm bath water, diffuse 5–10 drops in your bedroom at night to promote sleep, and apply 2–3 drops topically to the temples, chest and wrists in the morning.

10. Roman Chamomile

Roman chamomile essential oil works as a mild sedative that naturally calms nerves and promotes relaxation. Research shows that Roman chamomile oil can be used alone or in combination with lavender oil to improve sleep quality and reduce anxiety.

To use Roman chamomile as one of your natural remedies for depression, inhale the vapors directly from the bottle a few times a day, apply 2–3 drops topically to your wrists and back of neck, or diffuse 5–7 drops at home or at your workplace.

Lifestyle:

11. Build Relationships and Get Support

Because depression is most commonly caused by emotional issues, it can become worse due to lack of positive relationships, low self confidence and lack of purpose. Find a strong community of friends that can support and encourage you, and focus on your spirituality and relationship with God. It’s also helpful to seek counseling with a professional so that you can manage stress and strategize about your treatment methods and goals.

A 2013 study conducted at the University of Michigan found that the “quality of social relationships is a major risk factor for major depression.” Risk of depression was greatest among those with poor overall relationship quality, a lack of social support and social strains. Researchers found that these relationship statuses more than doubled the risk of depression. It seems that personal relationships may be one of the most important natural remedies for depression.

12. Exercise 

Exercise gives you a boost of energy, helps you to sleep better and builds confidence. These benefits of exercise will improve depressive symptoms and promote feelings of happiness and self-worth. A 2012 systematic review found that exercise can help to reduce the symptoms of depression, especially when its done in combination with psychological therapies.

Aim to exercise three to five days a week for 20 minutes or more. You can try any type of exercise that you like, such as yoga, pilates, running, barre, burst training and calisthenics. Even taking a walk outside will boost your happy hormones and energy levels. Of the natural remedies for depression, this is one that offers some of the most variety of options to choose from.

13. Spend Time Outdoors

Research shows that improving your vitamin D levels can help to reduce the symptoms of depression. In fact, the relationship between depression and vitamin D deficiency from a lack of sun exposure was first noted over two thousand years ago, according to researchers at the University of South Australia. Aim for spending 10–20 minutes in the sun daily.


Precautions

If you are suffering from depression and want to use these natural remedies for depression to improve your symptoms, do it under the care and guidance of your health care provider or counselor. Don’t be afraid to ask for support, as it’s so important to get help when you need it. But, if you notice any adverse reactions to these natural treatments for depression, or your symptoms become worse, discontinue the use of that remedy and see your health care provider. Also, it may take three to four weeks to see improvements with some of these natural remedies for depression.


Final Thoughts on Natural Remedies for Depression

  • Depression is one of the main causes of disability in developed, as well as low and medium income countries, with around 150 million people suffering from depression worldwide.
  • But, antidepressant medications come with a slew of side effects and people don’t know where to turn to find a treatment that won’t bring on more health problems.
  • However, luckily there are natural remedies for depression like dietary changes, using essential oils for depression, supplementing with vitamin D3 and B vitamins, and making lifestyle changes. Seeking counseling and community support has also proven to be beneficial for people who are suffering from depressive symptoms.

Today’s article has been shared from the following website: https://draxe.com/natural-remedies-depression/

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Overcoming Depression – Dine Nutritiously, Part 1

Your Body keeps an accurate journal regardless of what You write down... Eat Well to Live WellThis week we are continuing to address overcoming depression. Overcoming depression is not a quick fix kind of a thing; it is not cured by a magic pill or wishful thinking.

I know that I am fortunate to have survived my suicidal depression. I know that God was a key component in my fight. I also know that He has blessed me to see each component that was necessary to overcome my depression and heal…for good.

Some of my regular readers may be tired of all the posts on overcoming depression but depression has become so common and is such a misunderstood illness that I believe that I need to take the time to help all those who are suffering or whose loved one is suffering. I suffered from 24/7 migraines for fifteen years and although it was difficult – I survived the headaches no problem. I suffered from severe, suicidal depression for five years – I came harrowingly close to not surviving. Depression is not an illness to be trifled with and too many individuals are suffering silently – afraid, as I was, that if they admit they are depressed, that they will alienate friends, family, and associates.

Medication helps only a very small number of individuals. Yet, there is powerful help available to every single individual who will take advantage of that help.

Nutrition is an incredibly powerful tool in the quest for overcoming depression. Think fuel. Would you fuel your car with rocks in the hopes that your car would miraculously pull gasoline from the rocks? Well, too many feed their bodies nutritionally bankrupt food and expect that their bodies are going to tap into a miraculous reserve of nutrients that they have never (or too infrequently) consume.

Today I am sharing an article written by Therese Borchard. She is a sufferer of depression that has found the power in eating well. I hope you will read her article and understand how vital and important food is to every aspect of our health…including mental health!:

10 Foods I Eat Every Day to Beat Depression

A year ago this month my husband and I started a new diet. It had nothing to do with a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. For about nine months, he had been suffering from bad hives all over his body. It was bizarre. One day he’d wake up and they’d be all over his back. The next afternoon, his lip was swollen so much he couldn’t talk. He had been to a few different allergists and they told him it was “idiosyncratic” (meaning they didn’t know how to fix it) and told him to take Zyrtec indefinitely — until they went away.

“Could it be related to my diet?” he asked.

“No,” they said.

One guy sent him home with fungus cream that made the tiny red spots swell into ripe, red tomatoes all over his arms.

So he decided to try his own experiment and see if it worked.

The journey started with the book Eat to Live, by Joel Fuhrman, MD. We bought a used Vitamix, those ridiculously expensive blenders, and we were off: kale smoothies in the morning, homemade almond butter with celery for snack, and black bean soup for dinner.

His hives went away within a few weeks. Apparently the white flour and processed foods were causing the inflammation all over his body. My inflammation is in my brain, a rather complex organ, so my result took much longer — like nine months. But I’m finally starting to feel the real benefit of our diet changes.

Here is a list of 10 foods I eat every day now in order to feel good. These foods provide the nutrients my body needs to fight off inflammation in my brain, which leads to depression.

1. Dark Leafy Greens

If you were to choose the healthiest food of all, the most nutrient-dense item available to us to eat, it would be dark, leafy greens, no contest. Spinach. Kale. Swiss chard. Greens are the first of the G-BOMBS (Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries, Seeds) that Dr. Fuhrman describes in his book, The End of Dieting, the foods with the most powerful immune-boosting and anticancer effect.

“These foods help to prevent the cancerous transformation of normal cells and keep the body armed and ready to attack any precancerous or cancerous cells that may arise,” he writes. They fight against all kinds of inflammation, and according to a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry, severe depression has been linked with brain inflammation. Leafy greens are especially important because they contain oodles of vitamins A, C, E, and K, minerals and phytochemicals.

2. Walnuts

Walnuts are one of the richest plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and numerous studies have demonstrated how omega-3 fatty acids support brain function and reduce depression symptoms. A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry is especially interesting. The lead authors ask the question, Why is the vast biological research — from genetics to psychopharmacology — concentrated on neurotransmitters, when the mammalian brain is approximately 80 percent fat (lipids), and there is a growing body of research demonstrating the critical role of lipids to help brain functioning? What’s more, the shift in the Western diet away from these necessary omega-3 fatty acids over the last century parallels the large rise in psychiatric disorders in that time.

3. Avocado

I eat a whole one every day in my salad for lunch. Avocados are power foods because, again, they contain healthy fat that your brain needs in order to run smoothly. Three-fourths of the calories of an avocado are from fat, mostly monosaturated fat, in the form of oleic acid. An average avocado also contains 4 grams of protein, higher than other fruits, and is filled with vitamin K, different kinds of vitamin B (B-9, B-6, and B-5), vitamin C, and vitamin E-12. Finally, they are low in sugar and high in dietary fiber, containing about 11 grams each.

4. Berries

Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries are some of the highest antioxidant foods available to us. I try to have a variety for breakfast in the morning. In a study published in the Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, patients were treated for two years with antioxidants or placebos. After two years those who were treated with antioxidants had a significantly lower depression score. They are like DNA repairmen. They go around fixing your cells and preventing them from getting cancer and other illnesses.

5. Mushrooms

Here are two good reasons mushrooms are good for your mental health. First, their chemical properties oppose insulin, which helps lower blood sugar levels, evening out your mood. They also are like a probiotic in that they promote healthy gut bacteria. And since the nerve cells in our gut manufacture 80 percent to 90 percent of our body’s serotonin — the critical neurotransmitter that keeps us sane — we can’t afford to not pay attention to our intestinal health.

6. Onions

You won’t find this item on most lists of mood foods. However, it’s included in Fuhrman’s G-BOMBS because onions and all allium vegetables (garlic, leeks, chives, shallots, and spring onions) have been associated with a decreased risk of several cancers.

“Eating onions and garlic frequently is associated with a reduced risk of cancers of the digestive tract,” explains Fuhrman. “These vegetables also contain high concentrations of anti-inflammatory flavonoid antioxidants that contribute to their anti-cancer properties.” Again, if you consider the relationship between your digestive tract and your brain, it is understandable why a food that can prevent cancers of the gut would also benefit your mood.

7. Tomatoes

I try to eat at least six baby tomatoes in my salad each day for lunch because tomatoes contain lots of folic acid and alpha-lipoic acid, both of which are good for fighting depression. According to research published in the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, many studies show an elevated incidence of folate deficiency in patients with depression. In most of the studies, about one-third of depression patients were deficient in folate.

Folic acid can prevent an excess of homocysteine — which restricts the production of important neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine — from forming in the body. Alpha-lipoic acid keeps coming up as I read more about nutrition and the brain, so I have begun to take it as a supplement, as well. It helps the body convert glucose into energy, and therefore stabilizes mood.

8. Beans

“Beans, beans, good for the heart. The more you eat, the more you … smile.” They make the G-BOMB list because they can act as anti-diabetes and weight-loss foods. They are good for my mood because my body (and every body) digests them slowly, which stabilizes blood sugar levels. Any food that assists me in evening out my blood sugar levels is my friend. They are the one starch that I allow myself, so on top of a salad, they help mitigate my craving for bread and other processed grains.

9. Seeds

When I’m close to reaching for potato chips — or anything else that is yelling “I will take away your pain!” — I allow myself a few handfuls of sunflower seeds or any other kind of seed I can find in our kitchen. Seeds are the last food on Fuhrman’s G-BOMBS list.

Flaxseeds, hemp seeds, and chia seeds are especially good for your mood because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Fuhrman writes, “Not only do seeds add their own spectrum of unique disease-fighting substances to the dietary landscape, but the fat in seeds increases the absorption of protective nutrients in vegetables eaten at the same meal.”

10. Apples

An apple a day could — if eaten with the rest of these foods — keep the psychiatrist away, at least for stretches of time. Like berries, apples are high in antioxidants, which can help to prevent and repair oxidation damage and inflammation on the cellular level. They are also full of soluble fiber, which balances blood sugar swings. A snack I have grown to love is almond butter on apple slices. I get my omega-3 fatty acid along with some fiber.

Today’s article was written by Therese Borchard and is shared from the following website: https://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/therese-borchard-sanity-break/foods-eat-every-day-beat-depression/

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