Can your diet help you overcome depression?
When people think of depression and the process needed for a person to enjoy full recovery from the mood disorder, they tend to imagine countless visits to the doctor and different combinations of drugs to help combat the chemical imbalances in the affected person’s brain. What many don’t realize is that full recovery from this particular condition can be achieved more quickly if we adopt a more holistic approach.
Holistic care for depression involves not just taking your medication and visiting your psychiatrist for regular psychotherapy, but also your sleeping habits and especially your diet. In today’s blog post we’re going to discuss how you can improve your overall nutritional state by making small but meaningful changes to your diet.
Why is diet important to mental health?
The human body is essentially a powerful, organic machine that requires a fine balance of nutrients to function well.
Experts have long established a solid link between a person’s nutrition and his overall mental health. People who receive adequate amounts of vital nutrients are often healthier and mentally fitter. A balanced diet also helps improve a person’s overall mood. There appears to be a one-to-one relationship between a person’s diet and his mood.
When there isn’t sufficient nutritious food, people tend to experience frequent bouts of low mood.
This may have something to do with the fact that the food that we eat also influences hormonal and neurotransmitter production and balance, which have a direct impact on a person’s mood and mental predisposition.
The specific food items that you eat also appears to be associated with the triggering of many mental disorders, including clinical depression. Studies have shown that individuals who are predominantly on a high-carbohydrate diet are twice as likely to develop depression compared to people who are on a moderate-carb, high-protein and high fiber diet.
While a person’s diet is just one factor that contributes to the onset of depression, it’s something that we should all be concerned about because we eat every single day.
Eventually, what we eat catches up with us and the result is either health or disease. Don’t worry: there’s still time to reverse a lifetime of bad eating habits. You can start making changes to your diet now to help improve your mood disorder and make your body a whole lot healthier.
How does depression affect a person’s diet?
Normal eating patterns signify a healthy mind. Mood disorders like depression can render a formerly healthy person helpless against sudden and inexplicable changes to how one eats. For example, a person may suddenly feel the urge to skip meals or not eat at all for days simply because he doesn’t feel like it.
A depressed individual may also begin overeating as a result of having an abnormally big appetite. Overeating can make the depressed individual gain weight, which will obviously make it more difficult for him to remain healthy while recovering from the mood disorder.
What does an anti-depression diet look like?
An anti-depression diet centers on complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, unsaturated fats, fiber and lots of water – everything that the modern western diet isn’t at the moment. That’s why it can be difficult for many people to change their basic diet because what’s easily available in grocery stores aren’t exactly the best choices. However, if you can exert a bit more effort in changing how you eat, you can be sure that your body (including your brain) will begin to respond to the changes that you’re making.
- No to sugar. Sugar has been linked to hundreds of diseases that affect both the mind and the body. Sugar has been proven harmful not just to adults but to all individuals young and old. There’s even a link between sugar and the onset of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children! Another sweetener that you should be wary of is HFCS, or high fructose corn syrup, which produces the same negative results as sugar in the body.
2. Whole food. Whole food prepared at home will always be nutritionally superior than processed foods and fast food. Why? Because you control everything that goes into the actual cooking process. Cook frequently at home and avoid fast food as much as you can so your body will become accustomed to eating healthier food. Avoid soda too, because even the artificial sweetener used in zero-sugar sodas have been proven harmful to the organs, especially the brain and liver.