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Anti Depression Foods
The following list of foods is thought to fight symptoms of depression:
Sweets (in moderation, of course)
Omega-3 fatty acids
Whole grains and cereals
Beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds
Organic meats and poultry
Fish and shellfish
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How Do These Foods Fight Depression?
It really quite simple and makes a lot of sense once you understand the basic chemistry of you body. Our bodies run on a system that is essentially made up of checks and balances. When that balance is off, then our bodies do not function properly. Sometimes the result is small and hardly noticeable. But other times, it can wreak havoc and cause major problems. For instance, “there is some evidence of blood sugar and insulin imbalance in studies on depression, and some research on the benefits of a diet low in processed foods and low in refined sugar" (George Mateljan Foundation, 2010).
- Essential fats –do you need more Omega 3?
- Your homocysteine level – is it too high, corrected with B vitamins?
- Serotonin levels – do they need boosting with amino acids?
- Blood sugar balance – is yours within the healthy range?
- Chromium – are you getting enough?
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In several clinical studies, the use of omega 3s has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression. Found most abundantly in fish, “omega 3s help to build your brain’s neuronal connections as well as the receptor sites for neurotransmitters" (Food for the Brain, 2010). As a result, serotonin levels are raised, thus relieving depression. This puts omega 3 at the top of our anti depression foods list.
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B vitamins “play a role in the production of certain brain chemicals that are important in regulating mood and other brain functions" (Hall-Flavin, 2010). People with low levels of B vitamins (namely, B6, B12 or folic acid) run the risk having an overabundance of the protein homocysteine. While homocysteine is needed, too much becomes harmful. By adding folic acid to your diet, you can eradicate symptoms of depression while also protecting your heart and increasing concentration.
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Amino acids are a vital component in the anti depression diet. They are directly responsible for creating serotonin on the brain. Needless to say, a deficiency in amino acids would lead to lower levels of serotonin, thus causing depression.
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Refined sugar is toxic…period. Too much of it will cause your glucose levels to become unbalanced. Since the brain runs on glucose, much like a vehicle runs on gasoline, it is imperative that glucose levels remain balanced. Additionally, when refined sugar is consumed, insulin and endorphin levels rise, but only temporarily. Sooner or later, the levels will drop and so will your mood.
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Chromium is a mineral that stabilizes blood sugar levels. A small study involving fifteen people confirmed the usefulness of chromium. Ten participants were given a chromium supplement while the other five were given a placebo. Seven out of the ten chromium recipients showed a dramatic improvement in depression levels, while all of the placebo recipients claimed no change in their symptoms of depression.
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Implementing an Anti Depression Diet
If you are thinking about trying the foods and/or supplements listed in this article, good for you! This diet is beneficial to everyone, not just those who suffer from depression. Our bodies were made to eat what nature has provided. Too often we turn to the abundance of processed foods that are fast, convenient, and cheap, that we are making oursleves sick. Getting back to a more natural diet will not only make you feel better, but look better too.
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Food for the Brain (2010). Depression. Retrieved October 1, 2010, from http://www.foodforthebrain.org/content.asp?id_Content=1635
George Mateljan Foundation for the World's Healthiest Foods (2010). What foods are best for reducing depression? Retrieved October 1, 2010, from http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=fightdz&dbid=12
Hall-Flavin, D. K. (2010). What is the relationship between vitamin B-12 and depression? Retrieved October 5, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vitamin-b12-and-depression/AN01543