Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fighting Depression with Food

Open your mouth and get ready to smile. Depression is one of the most misunderstood conditions. While it is a frequent cause of suffering, many people who live with depression are embarrassed of their condition. Because of this, they're often hesitant to seek help.
If you find yourself suffering from the effects of depression, you don't have to suffer alone. And you may not have to take specialized medications, either. In fact, your kitchen cupboard may house everything you need to overcome bouts with depression. Read on to learn about a few foods that will help you overcome your struggle with depression on a daily basis.
As if omega-3 fatty acids didn't have enough benefits (it has been found to fight against heart disease and even Alzheimer's disease), it seems this fishy sounding, heaven-sent oil also helps ward off depressive bouts. According to a 2002 study, participants who downed a gram of fish oil every day during the study cut their depressive symptoms in half. More fish anyone? (On top of getting omega-3 fatty acids from tuna and salmon, you can also pick some up by grabbing a handful of walnuts or flaxseed.)
When you need a brain boost and a mood equalizer, nothing does it better than whole-grain oats. Filled with vitamins B6 and B1 and folic acid and available on practically every shelf at the grocery store, whole-grain oats put you on the fast trek to improved mental health. At the same time, you'll also enjoy lowered cholesterol, reduced risk for heart disease, and improved immune response when your body finds itself up against a nasty infection.
With plenty of vitamins and folic acid, rice is a great way to regulate your mood over time - but you've got to stick with brown rice. Because brown rice is a low-glycemic food, it causes glucose (sugar) to make its way into your bloodstream slowly and surely, preventing you from having those miserable mood swings that come from sugar lows. Since you can slip some brown rice in practically any meal, it's easy to make sure you get plenty of its benefit!
When there is no food in your hand, beat depression by forcing a smile, enjoying a funny movie, spending time with loved ones, exercising, and hanging out in the sunshine for a while.
Okay, so you probably aren't going to drink a quart of canola oil, but if you get desperate enough, you just may. Because multiple studies have shown that depression is more common in individuals with low levels of vitamin E. Since canola oil is rich in vitamin E, it's a good idea to reach for the bottle of canola when cooking up your next meal.
Two Steps Forward, One Step Back
If you're struggling with depression and plan to fight it with your fork, you should also be leery of foods that can cause you to sink deeper into depression. Some of the most dangerous foods to your mental health include the following:
  • food with lots of fat
  • food with lots of sugar
  • food and drink high in caffeine
  • food with low nutritional value
In other words, your tendency to head to a fast food restaurant and top it off with a quart of ice cream won't do your mental health any good. Rather, it will do just the opposite.
Until next time - Live Life Well,
John Aaron Villarreal

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