With the increase in the levels of stress, anxiety, poverty, abuse, etc., in today’s world, it has been estimated that one third of the world’s population are likely to experience an episode of depression in their life time.Despite the availability of a range of anti-depressants in the market, this debilitating disorder still remains inadequately treated due to the innumerable side effects associated with drugs like Prozac, Ritalin, etc. Hence, the use of complementary therapies like home remedies provide an efficient way of combating the effects of this psychiatric disorder.
Even though, we crave for extra sugar to quickly fix our moods, having a well balanced nutritional diet, including lots of vegetables and proteins is the most effective strategy for increasing the levels of neurotransmitters that are responsible for fighting depression. Making subtle changes in your diet, by including the remedies listed below, can help you fight depression.
Tips To Reduce Depression With Food
Rich in tryptophan, an amino acid essential for the synthesis of dopamine, serotonin and nor epinephrine, the three most essential neurotransmitters that govern the emotional well-being of an individual, bananas can serve as one of the best alternatives to antidepressants that mostly aim at increasing any one of these neurotransmitters.
In fact, banana peels are known to contain higher amounts of dopamine and nor epinephrine that enable an individual to deal with aggression, loss of appetite, sleeplessness and other symptoms associated with depression.
Packed with rich phyto-nutrients like phosphorous, vitamin B, vitamin C and potassium, an apple can aid in the synthesis of glutamic acid, an amino acid that is essential for the production of neurotransmitters that prevent nerve cells from getting worn out. Apple juice or apple with milk and honey can serve as a nerve tonic that rejuvenates the mind by recharging the nerves with life and energy.
Vitamins are essentially co-enzymes that aid enzymes in carrying out metabolism and in synthesizing neurotransmitters like serotonin and nor-epinephrine, thus providing enough energy and fuel to the brain that in turn, aids in uplifting the mood of an individual. Vitamin B6 present in whole grains and vegetables promotes the production of serotonin and dopamine.
Vitamin B12 is involved in the production of red blood cells that make up hemoglobin, responsible for carrying oxygen-rich blood to the brain. Its deficiency can lead to pernicious anemia causing dementia, mood swings, paranoia, etc., which are conditions that aggravate the symptoms of depression. Hence, one can treat depression by making minute changes in their diet and by consuming foods rich in vitamin B like whole grains, fortified wheat bread, cereals, green vegetables, fruits, fish, poultry, eggs, etc., or by taking vitamin supplements available in the market.
Vitamin C, being a natural anti-oxidant helps in the elimination of free radicals from the body. It also aids in the synthesis of mood elevating neurotransmitters responsible for lifting up your mood and relaxing your mind, thereby making you feel happier.
Hence, vitamin C rich fruits citrus, guavas, gooseberries etc., are good remedies to cure depression. A tablespoon of gooseberry juice with 1/8th spoon of nutmeg powder, taken three times a day has been found to be one of the most effective remedy in treating depression.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Evidence from epidemiological, laboratory and clinical studies have established a strong association between the intake of omega-3 fatty acids and decrease in the rate of incidence of major depressive disorders. These are essential fatty acids that cannot be synthesized by the body and are mostly found in vegetable oils, fish, flax seeds, walnut, canola, hemp oils, etc.
Even though, omega-3 fatty acids are not recommended as the first line of treatment for depression, several studies have reported low rates of depression in patients who have used these fatty acids as an adjuvant to the other antidepressants prescribed by their doctors. Furthermore, the people of Japan and Iceland, who consume more fish have been found to have considerably low rates of depression.
Combined with an array of health benefits, cardamom has also been proven valuable in treating depression, besides adding a spicy flavor to the food. Tea made using powdered form of cardamom can impart a fragrance to it that soothes and rejuvenates the mind, providing clarity of thoughts, thereby increasing a person’s ability to think and act sensibly.
Several studies have shown that regular intake of cardamom, either directly or by including it in foods like milk and warm water with sugar gives great relief from depression. However, one should not consume it in large quantities, since it can lead to side effects impotency in males.
Avocados provide a great source of tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid required for the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays a major role in promoting relaxation of the mind. It also serves as a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, vitamin B-6 and folic acid that boost the levels of “feel-good” hormones in the brain like dopamine and endorphins, thereby elevating your mood. Not just as a vegetable, avocados can also be enjoyed by consuming them as avocado shakes, avocado burgers, etc.
A glass of fresh carrot juice is rich in vitamin A, vitamin B-6 and vitamin C, which are essential for the synthesis of neurotransmitters that prevent short-term memory loss, nervousness, irritability, lack of concentration and problems associated with depression.
An adrenal tonic made using a glass of carrot juice with a pinch of sage and one teaspoons bragg’s liqud aminos (a protein concentrate derived using soybean) can cause an adrenaline rush, thus aiding an individual in coping with the day-to-day stress.
Almonds are nutrient dense, packed with folic acid, magnesium, zinc, iron and tyrosine, an amino acid, which acts as a precursor for the production of dopamine, a “feel-good” hormone. Hence, you should consider replacing your sugary snacks with almonds that are responsible for enhancing your mood, enabling you to cure depression.
Amino acids present in proteins are building blocks for neurotransmitters that are essential for controlling your mood and for overcoming depression. L-Tryptophan is involved in the synthesis of serotonin and dopamine, and hence, one can minimize depression by including foods rich in this amino acid like turkey, chicken, eggs, sprouts, soy beans, dairy products like low fat cheese, etc.
However, over-consumption of these remedies can have their own side effects and hence, one should always consult a professional health practitioner, before consuming them along with the prescribed anti-depressants, to cure depression.
Caution: Please use Home Remedies after Proper Research and Guidance. You accept that you are following any advice at your own risk and will properly research or consult healthcare professional.