Depression self help is about eating and drinking correctly. It seems
obvious to state it, but our tissue, bones, vital organs and brain are
all made up of what we eat and drink. As the business computer saying
goes, “rubbish in, rubbish out”. You need to find out what you SHOULD be
eating. Find about your body type and the sorts of food you SHOULD be
eating. The Chinese and Indians have been benefiting from such studies
for centuries. Are you aware of them?
A test : which are the best foods for your depression amongst these
items, regardless of your body type: – parsley, almonds, fillet steak,
cheese or mushrooms? Answer, best is parsley, then almonds, then
mushrooms, cheese and fillet steak. Did you know that? If you eat the wrong
combination of foods for your depression, will you know it? Will you be
aware of the harmful effects? Has your psychiatrist ever advised you about
this? It is very likely not. It would be wise to find out.
Why not find out and make that important life change that could make
all the difference to how you feel. Investigate the options available for
taking food supplements and vitamins. Certain food supplements and
vitamins could be critical for your recovery and avoidance of relapse.
The relation between depression and diet is highly complex and beyond
the scope of these pages, however, stated in very simple terms:
1. Serotonin (and other substances) is a chemical which facilitates
brain impulses necessary for our normal functioning.
2. When we are under stress or depressed, our brain requires and
consumes more serotonin. Depressed people have a deficiency of serotonin and
hence need to produce more.
3. Since serotonin is partially created by eating complex
carbohydrates, our body begins to crave foods rich in these carbohydrates.
4. People who consume a disproportionate volume of fat and protein
expose themselves to higher risk of depression, since these foods can
actually decrease the levels of serotonin.
5. When we consume sugar-rich foods or soft drinks we achieve short
term satisfaction but in the long term we are breaking down the nutrients
in our system which help us fight stressors
If you eat correctly you will have more energy, you will lose weight
and have far higher resistance to stress. Eating complex carbohydrates
stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin. This permits the amino acid
tripofan to synthesize serotonin, which is the key element required for
combating depression. Amongst those foods with high tripofan content
are turkey, natural yoghurt, almonds and sunflower seeds.
Contrary to what most people might expect, a protein-rich diet does not
favor a depression sufferer. Protein breaks down serotonin. Simple
carbohydrates such as pizza, macaroni and cheese will give us a quick fix
in stressful moments but are harmful in the long run. Complex or
unrefined carbohydrates are desirable as they provide longer reserves of
energy, containing high levels of fiber, minerals and other nutrients.
Helpful foods include pumpkin, carrots, mixed grain cereals, breads and rice
and tomatoes, amongst many others.
As critical as “what” we eat is “how” and “when” we eat. We need to eat
hearty breakfasts and if possible take healthy snacks all day, as if
stoking a coal burner every 2 hours. Snacks may include fruit, natural
yoghurts, almonds, celery sticks. Under no circumstances should you
succumb to the vending machine, with crisps, soft drinks etc.
We need to chew our food well, at least 25 times per mouthful. We were
given teeth not to improve our smile but as tools in the first and
critical stage of digestion, which takes place in the mouth. Our final meal
of the day should be light and no later than 7pm. If we are depressed,
our mission is to eat consistently in order to generate serotonin
evenly throughout the day. If we eat a bacon sandwich for breakfast at
7.30am, skip lunch, eat a double slice of salami pizza at 5pm and have a
large dinner with dessert at 10pm before going to bed at 10.30, we are
making ourselves direct candidates for obesity, heart disease, cancer,
recurring depression and other mental illnesses.
In addition to greatly improving what, when and how we eat, there is
growing evidence that natural substances help to relieve the symptoms of
depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and mania. The most highly
regarded is St John’s Wort.
There is also a growing body of evidence demonstrating that foods rich
in Omega-3 fatty acids can have as useful an effect on anxiety,
depression and bipolar disorder than antidepressant medicines themselves.
Omega-3 is available in many common foodstuffs
Here we can also mention lithium or lithium carbonate. Lithium is used
in the treatment of bipolar depression (manic depression). Although
lithium in most countries is a controlled drug, lithium carbonate is the
substance actually extracted from the ground so in the strict sense it
is a natural compound. It successfully helps to control the peaks and
troughs of manic depression and is therapeutic in approximately 50% of