Foods that fight Depression

Posted by fredclark on September 21st, 2010

Oh, Bliss! That steaming bowl of delicious oatmeal is beckoning you. Go ahead and pile on a handful of those plump and juicy blueberries. Pour on a stream of creamy whole milk. Sit down and enjoy the flavors and aromas this delectable breakfast has to offer you. This breakfast just might do more than satisfy a hunger or craving.

It just might make you a little bit happier, too! How is that, you may ask? It's actually quite simple.

Serotonin is a hormone that, when release by your brain, has the power to make you feel emotionally stronger. Good old oatmeal contains amino acids that help aid in the release of this powerful mood elevator. It will also help keep your bowel habits in check and we all know that constipation is a recipe for crankiness!

The blueberries in your bowl support getting rid of free-radicals in the blood with their powerful antioxidants. Free-radicals are a product of stress (we all have it) and too many can wreak havoc on your body! This makes blueberries a truly an amazing fruit.

As for the stream of creamy whole milk your body needs Vitamin D and most people are not getting enough of it these days. The best source of this vitamin in the sun but with our culture's faced-paced and busy lifestyle, most of us do not get the recommended fifteen minutes of sunlight a day. In northern climates that have shorter days and long winters, many people suffer from Seasonal Affect Disorder.

In a nutshell, this disorder is temporary (seasonal) depression caused by a lack of sunshine! Vitamin D has been shown to improve depression in those suffering from Seasonal Affect Disorder.

Speaking of vitamins, Vitamin B has a very important role in our body's depression defenses. Studies suggest that eating foods that are rich in B Vitamins can help you feel more mentally and emotionally balanced and may also give you a bit more energy! Different forms of Vitamin B can be found in foods like spinach, avocado, meets, beans, sweet potatoes and bananas.

There are so many beneficial foods available to us to help us keep depression at bay! In what seems like an ocean of good food choices, let us not ignore the Salmon. Salmon contains healthy amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Big deal? Yes, big deal. Research shows that the specific omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon can help send depression out to sea. Bon Voyage!

Is salmon not your thing? No problem! Those omega-3 fatty acids can be found elsewhere. In the fish world it can be found in tuna, sardines, and anchovies.

Still not for you? That is completely understandable. Don't worry! There are plenty of plant-based omega-3 super-foods. You can get all of your omega-3 requirements by eating leafy veggies, walnuts, and pumpkin or flax seeds.

It all seems easy enough. All you have to do is eat those foods and you'll be happy, right? Nope! There are plenty of foods that need to be avoided to help eliminate depression. Everything that enters your mouth and goes into your body starts a reaction inside of you. When you eat the right foods, the reaction is a good one. Conversely, the wrong food choices will start a negative chain reaction within you. Many times the wrong food choice will trigger depressive behavior.

So what kinds of foods should be avoided? Alcohol is the first to come to mind. Yes, it is a stimulant in low doses but it drains and depletes serotonin. We want more serotonin, not less. Remember? It is perfectly fine to enjoy the occasional cocktail of course. Just remember that drinking too much can lead to things far worse than a hangover, like depression or alcoholism.

So what else? Caffeine. That morning cup of coffee is alright but it is a good idea to stop your daily caffeine intake there. Your brain has the power to release hormones that can calm your mood and aid in peaceful digestion. Caffeine diminishes this important brain power by blocking those hormones.

Fried or fatty foods need to be avoided as well. The concept is simple really. Foods high in saturated fats make neurotransmitters in the brain rigid. The hormones that make you feel "happy" will not flow as easily. Think of a sink drain. If it is clean, water will freely flow. Now, imagine you have dumped a bucket of bacon grease into it and it has clogged the flow. Water will not flow as freely, if at all. Trans and Saturated fats do that to our bodies.

Foods like French fries, donuts, potato chips, and pizza should be eaten only in the strictness of moderation. This brings me back to whole milk. The fat found in whole milk will far outweigh the benefit of its nutrients if it is not consumed in moderation. So, let me boil it down for you:

If you can not just have a little bit, like say, on your oatmeal, then switch to skim milk and drink a glass of natural orange juice with breakfast. That way, you are not having too much fat and the orange juice is providing your body a portion of the Vitamin D that it craves.

So, if you eat all the "good" foods and avoid all of the "bad" foods, you will never be plagued with depression and you will be happy all the time, right? No! By eating the "right" foods and eliminating the "wrong" ones, what you are doing is stimulating your body's natural ability to fight depression. By making a few changes in the way that you consume and think about food, you can provide your body with the nutrients it needs to have a possible and natural advantage over depression.

Because foods can alter how we feel, we need to pay close attention to how we eat. Even if you are not currently suffering from depression, eating the "good" foods and avoiding the "bad" just might prevent you from ever having to go through it. If you are overweight, you will find that eating this way may even help you to loose weight without much trouble at all. Oh yeah, eating this way can lower your bad cholesterol too.

If you are not following a diet rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids then now is the time to start. You can be well on your way to happier and healthier!

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Joined: September 16th, 2010
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