Depression – a common mental disorder occurs mostly due to genetic, biological, environmental and psychological factors. In recent times, depression is on the rise especially, due to a busy life schedule, excess stress, trauma, grief, difficult times, unhealthy lifestyle, low social support etc. Depression primarily occurs due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. Antidepressants improve the brain signalling system by stimulating the chemical messengers, or neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. Long-term medication is required for treating depression which can often lead to some adverse health effects like weight gain, fatigue, dizziness etc.
It would be interesting to know there are some natural foods which may act as effective anti-depressants to effectively manage depression.
Curcumin, a powerful antioxidant found in turmeric, regulates neurotransmitter levels thereby acting as a potent antidepressant. It also helps to scavenge free radicals that cause oxidative stress.
Tip: Turmeric roots can be eaten raw in the form of sliced pieces on an empty stomach in the morning.
Bananas are one of the popular super foods for managing depression. It contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid, which can convert into serotonin. Serotonin helps to make one feel relaxed and happy.
Tip: A medium-sized (100g) banana can be taken along with breakfast or afternoon snacks.
Green tea is rich in catechins, polyphenols; particularly EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) which has anti-oxidative properties. EGCG normalises the activities of the brain relaxing neurotransmitter, GABA (Gamma Aminobutyric Acid) and hence relieves anxiety.
Tip: 1 - 2 cups (1 cup=100ml) of green tea with a pinch of cinnamon powder can be taken in the morning or evening in place of normal tea.
Milk & Milk Products
Calcium present in milk & milk products can give strength and relax the nervous system which can further help to manage depression. Acetyl-L-carnitine, a natural component in dairy products, has an inhibitory effect on the depressive response system of the human body. Hence, a glass of milk can soothe anxiety and calm mood swings.
Tip: A glass (250 ml) of skimmed lukewarm milk can be taken before going to bed at night. It can be also consumed with a pinch of turmeric powder as Golden Milk.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty and oily fish can reduce overall inflammation, which helps to improve brain function and boost one’s mood.
Tip: Non-vegetarians usually take fish as fish curry, smoked or baked fish etc. Vegetarians can choose flaxseeds as a source of omega-3 fatty acid in place of fish. Flaxseeds can be sprinkled on breakfast cereals as well.
Spinach, a common dark green leafy vegetable, contains many important nutrients to repair, heal and prevent damages caused by stress. It is rich in folic acid which can help to get rid of depression by regulating the production of neurotransmitters (i.e., serotonin and noradrenaline) in the brain.
Tip: 1 small bowl of Spinach soup or 1 plate of salad with spinach greens can be good choices.
Almonds are rich in magnesium, which is essential for many enzyme-functioning in the brain. It helps to restrict the release of stress hormones and acts as a filter for preventing anxiety and other mental disorders.
Tip: About 5-6 pcs of almond nuts can be taken as snacks.
Another effective and traditional antidepressant food is Saffron. Its antidepressant properties are mainly related to serotonin metabolism.
Tip: Add ¼ teaspoon of saffron to a glass of lukewarm milk. Drink it before going to bed.
Depression is demanding! Psychiatric treatment alone seems to fall short of helping one suffering from depression. Psychotherapy is a must and very helpful. Research shows that drugs prescribed by a Psychiatrist and therapy by a Psychologist/Psychological Counselor/Psychotherapist gets good results. Contact us TODAY to seek help.