Supplements can be very important in dealing with the symptoms of depression. In the two previous blogs, we looked at what food is beneficial to include in your diet if you are struggling with depression. Here are the links to Feed Your Depression - part 1, and Feed Your Depression - part 2. Now let's look at some supplements.
This vitamin, called the ‘sunshine’ vitamin, is often thought of in relation to bone health. But it is also showing promise in studies related to depression. Vitamin D is produced when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Unfortunately, many of us live in a climate where we are covered up for months of the year. Then when it warms up, we cover our skin with sunscreen. Our skin is seldom exposed to sunlight. For this reason, many of us are deficient in vitamin D. Although this vitamin is best obtained by being outdoors, it is also found in milk and non-dairy milk beverages that are fortified with vitamin D.
Talk to your doctor to see if you should also take a vitamin D supplement.
The vitamins in the B group support and maintain the health of your nervous system, in particular vitamins B-12, and B-9 (otherwise known as folate in foods/folic acid in vitamin form). Research continues to find a correlation between the deficiency in B vitamins and depression. Vitamins B-12 and B-9 show promise in helping to manage depression.
Food sources of B-12 include animal products such as dairy, fish, poultry, eggs, and beef. Vegetarian sources of this vitamin can be found in non-dairy milks and breakfast cereals fortified with B-12.
B-9 (folate) can be found in foods such as a variety of beans and lentils, as well as in vegetables including asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and dark leafy greens.
Talk to your doctor to see if you should be taking a B-complex vitamin supplement.
Omega-3 fatty acids
This type of fat supports brain function and has a positive effect on mood. Scientists agree that consuming foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can elevate mood, prevent depression, and reduce the symptoms of depression. Some omega-3 foods include fatty fish such as salmon, nuts and seeds such as pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. Because omega-3's can be enjoyed in their oil form - fish oil and flax seed oil, I have included them here as a supplement. Enjoy salmon for dinner, sprinkle some pumpkin seeds on your oatmeal in the morning, or take a fish oil capsule.
I know that by eating the right foods and paying attention to including specific supplements into your diet, you can help alleviate the symptoms of depression and enjoy a healthier body and a happier mind.
Eating foods high in tryptophan is a natural way to help boost serotonin production. Serotonin is a brain chemical that has a positive effect on mood. It is sometimes called the ‘happiness’ hormone. Your body utilizes tryptophan in order to make this special hormone.
Animal protein sources such as turkey, chicken, beef, and eggs are high in tryptophan. Foods from the plant kingdom such as chia seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, almonds, and spirulina are also a great source of tryptophan.
For best results, eat tryptophan foods in combination with complex carbohydrates (see previous article: Feed Your Depression - Part 1).
In addition, tryptophan foods also contain amino acids, the building blocks of protein. These help with mental acuity and alertness.
Feed your body well and enjoy the benefits of a healthier body and a happier mind.
I spoke with a lady today who wanted to purchase my book. She shared with me that she was feeling depressed and needed some direction in regards to her health. I suggested she look at chapter 3 of my book, Healthy Body for Life, which addresses nutrition for depression.
Depression affects many women in mid-life. It is twice more prevalent in women than in men. The change in hormone levels as you near menopause is one of the most common factors that may precipitate depression. These physical changes often have an emotional consequence.
Depression can manifest as:
There is no denying that food can affect your mental health and your mood.
Over the next few days, I will share some foods and supplements you can begin to include in your diet to help reduce the symptoms of depression.
Let's begin by talking about carbohydrates. But first, we need to look at the difference between complex and simple carbs.
Simple carbohydrates: These simple sugars are found in white sugar, honey, soft drinks, processed fruit juice, candy and other sweet snacks, white bread, white rice, and boxed cereal. They are processed and give you a quick but brief boost of energy.
Complex carbohydrates: These are more fibrous foods such as whole grains and their products (oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa and whole grain bread), green vegetables, starchy vegetables (sweet potatoes, squash, and potatoes), and beans and lentils. Their higher fibre content means that they will take more time to process, giving us sustained energy over a longer period of time.
Eating a nutrient dense diet is the foundation of well-being, both physical and mental.
Complex carbohydrates are an important nutrient to include in your everyday diet. It is especially important for those struggling with depression, and here's why. Complex carbs help to stabilize your blood sugar levels, and prompt the release of serotonin, a brain chemical that has a positive effect on mood. Serotonin is sometimes called the ‘happiness’ hormone. So make some simple changes. Enjoy brown rice instead of white, oatmeal in the morning instead of sugar-coated cereal, fruit instead of candy. And make a lovely green salad every day.
Feed your body well, and enjoy the benefits of a healthier body and a happier mind.
Last week was back to school for most children in Canada - a crazy time for most moms. But here we are, the week after. Have you put yourself on your to-do list yet?
Over the summer, schedules are here, there and everywhere. We travel, we camp, we enjoy the warm weather. But in September, there is a feeling of a new beginning, similar to the first of the year. Take advantage of this change of routine, and sadly, change of weather as well.
In church yesterday, a young man who had seen me at the gym asked me, "How do you make sure you get to the gym?" This was my advice to him and now, to you.
On Sundays, plan your week. For each day, calendar what you will be doing to keep fit. This could be a brisk walk, a yoga class, a session at the gym - something that gets you moving. Each night take a minute to re-evaluate. Were you successful? If not, what got in the way? How can you pick yourself back up and move forward tomorrow?
No matter how you slice it, physical activity is great for both body and mind. Making yourself a priority will give you increased energy, confidence and a clearer mind to deal with everything else in your life.
Until the next one, eat well, stay active, live happy and enjoy a Healthy Body for Life!