Antidepressants have become alarmingly wide-spread in the past decade. Currently, about
10 percent of the population is taking selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), but that number goes up to 1 in 4 for women in their 40s and 50s.
Even doctors – if they’re forthcoming – will tell you that antidepressants are dangerous. Once you’ve started taking them, you cannot just stop without risking life-threatening effects. And even while you’re on them, worsening depression or suicidal thoughts are not uncommon side effects for many people.
What most doctors don’t know, because they never learned it in school, is that nearly all cases of depression are caused by nutritional deficiencies. Food and mood are inseparable, according to an increasing body of research on the subject.
Furthermore, certain foods can ease depressive symptoms by bringing about chemical and physiological changes that can alter your general mental outlook on life.
Much of the research being done in this area today has focused on various effects of processed foods and fast foods on the body. Bottom line: they’re extremely bad for you. In fact, a convenience food diet (grab it and go!) is specifically linked to mental depression and even bipolar disorder.
A diet rich in carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, protein and healthy fats, on the other hand, seems to be the “cure”.
These are the very things that processed foods lack – or get badly wrong – and they are also the very things your body needs to remain healthy, resist early ageing, repair daily damage and optimize your mood structure.
Antioxidants are especially important in regulating brain function and slowing the effects of ageing. Antioxidants reverse the effects of free radicals in the body and repair the damage they do.
You should get antioxidants from natural whole foods such as apricots, carrots, peaches, pumpkin, broccoli, spinach, peppers, grapefruit, blueberries, tomato, strawberries, nuts, seeds, dairy products and fish.
ALWAYS choose organic veggies and fruits (you don’t want toxic pesticides) and organic, free-range meats. Avoid any fish harvested from the Pacific Ocean at this time; it’s basically all irradiated following the Fukushima nuclear melt-down in Japan. In other words, be picky.
It’s also extremely important to get out in the sun – and skip the sunblock! Your body produces vitamin D from direct contact with sunlight, and this is a key factor for many areas of overall health, including mental outlook. Why skip the sunblock? It’s yet another toxic chemical cocktail. Smooth some coconut oil onto your skin instead. It really works!
Alternatively, you can supplement with a good brand of vitamin D3 (as cholecalciferol). Avoid brands that feature soybean oil or vegetable oils of any kind. A good daily dosage is 10,000 IUs. Considering you get about 100 IUs in a cup of “fortified” milk, it’s no wonder 9 out of 10 Americans are vitamin D deficient or that depression is such an issue in this country.
Carbohydrates serve many vital functions in the body. One of them is increasing serotonin production. Serotonin is a mood-enhancing chemical produced in the brain. While most people get their carbs from breads, it’s best to skip bread altogether and look to fruits and legumes (mostly dry beans and peas) instead.
Always stay away from anything with refined sugar and every kind of junk food. These are the worst carb sources on the planet and they can quickly cause all manner of physical abnormalities, including fluctuating blood sugar levels that severely affect mood.
Protein is important for many reasons. Most relevant here is that protein boosts production of an amino acid called tyrosine, which increases levels of dopamine and noradrenaline. Like serotonin, these are natural mood elevators. Eating processed foods that provide poor-quality proteins robs your body of these chemicals and can easily lead to depressive states.
Protein-rich foods include fresh whole eggs, raw almonds, lean meats, fresh dairy products, broccoli, and quinoa (“keen-wah”).
Omega-3 fatty acids – and the lack of them – are definitely linked to depression. Most of the fatty acids found in processed and fast foods are omega-6. You need both, but you need more omega-3 and even the omega-6 should come from whole fresh foods, not deep-fried things.
Oily fish like salmon and tuna are good sources of omega-3s, as are walnuts, green leafy vegetables, and flaxseeds.
While we’re on the subject of fats, throw out every kind of vegetable oil in your kitchen and replace them with coconut oil. You’re far more likely to live long and prosper if you do!