Mental illnesses need to be addressed and cured just as one would any form of physical ailment. Depression is a mental illness that can be cured with time. However, in our society mental illnesses are considered a social stigma, and people often either sideline mental patients or treat them negligently. It is important to prioritize curing mental instabilities right at the onset of it. Our lifestyle and diet can play a major role not only in improving our physical health but our mental stability as well. This article covers depression in brief and what types of food should be consumed and avoided by those suffering from it.
Depression And Its Causes
Depression is a major mental illness that should not be taken lightly. Due to a lack of awareness, many people are unable to identify if they or their loved ones are suffering from it. Anyone is susceptible to this mental illness. A depressed person may come across as a healthy person on the outside but the emotional turmoil and confusion that they face on the inside are only actually known to them. They experience extreme mood swings where one moment you may find them calm and relaxed and the other moment, they have uncontrollable outbursts. Depression comes in the way of a person’s life, a career as well as relationships. It also adversely affects the physical health of a person. Various factors may give rise to this mental illness. Mentioned below are some of those:
- Existing chronic physical ailments where the person is bedridden, experiences continuous pain, is physically impaired and other such health issues.
- Financial losses and instability.
- Extreme and toxic relationship problems
- Alcohol and drug abuse for prolonged periods.
- If a person’s family member has depression chances are some other blood relations could also get the disease
- Sexual abuse, assault, and the trauma received as a result of it
- Continuous bullying, as well as social discrimination, can cause depression
- Death of a loved one
- Sudden lifestyle changes owing to losses in business, accidents, etc.
Signs Of Depression
Just like with physical illnesses, mental illnesses also come with certain conspicuous signs and symptoms which deteriorate with time when not dealt with at the earliest. Some signs of depression to look out for are:
- Always feeling sad or low
- Extreme mood swings
- Loss of interest in life and routine
- Resort to drinking alcohol, consuming drugs, etc.
- Extreme changes in appetite where some tend to overeat and others eat too less
- Lack of sleep, irritability, or oversleeping
- Showcase frequent outbursts and temper tantrums
- Constant feeling of hopelessness
- Feel a lack of energy and go numb without indulging in any activity
- Sexual life gets affected where the person experiences a lack of interest in sex
- Feel confused, empty, and lost
- Experience unexplained physical aches and pains
- Feel suicidal
- Avoid social gatherings and stay reclusive
Foods That Can Help Cure Depression
Our diet plays a major role in our overall well-being. And so, it is important to know that consuming certain types of food can help those suffering from depression as it helps to better their mental health. Some of those food items are:
- Avocado – This creamy, buttery fruit is considered one of the best foods for depression. It is rich in beta-carotene, folate, lutein, vitamin E and is loaded with vitamin B. it is also enriched with glutathione which helps curb oxidative damage.
- Berries – berries help improve cognitive skills as they contain the antioxidant anthocyanin known to do wonders for one’s health. Vitamin C in berries also helps fight stress.
- Nuts – nuts are good for those with depression as they contain zinc. Zinc deficiency is often noticed in depression and anxiety patients, and doctors recommend the intake of it to help fight the same. Nuts also aid in weight loss as they are filling and make the person feel less hungry.
- Chocolate – only the mention of this wonder food can uplift a person’s mood. Chocolate is a sure-shot depression fighter provided it is consumed in moderation. Amongst its varieties, dark chocolate is considered the best as it induces calm by lowering the blood pressure of a person.
- Garlic – loaded with antioxidants, they are known to nullify free radicals. Garlic greatly boosts the immune system and those suffering from depression are known to have weaker immunity and consuming garlic helps counter this.
- Green Tea – loaded with health benefits, green tea contains theanine, the amino acid which protects from cancers and improves brain function. Recommended drinking twice a day to combat signs of depression.
- Turkey – being a source of lean protein, turkey meat is helpful to beat depression. Since it is not high on fat, consuming turkey is a safe option as compared to red meat. It contains the amino acid tryptophan which is known to induce sleep.
- Oysters – Oysters are known to be super enriched with zinc, which is an excellent component for those fighting depression. Consuming only 6 oysters is known to supply the body with enough zinc it needs for the day.
Foods To Avoid
- Sugar – Not only is sugar bad for our physical health but it wreaks havoc on our mental health as well. This is linked to the study which found that as blood glucose levels increase, growth inducing protein drops, and inhibits smooth functioning of the brain.
- Hydrogenated oil – hydrogenated oil is vegetable oil processed, to increase its shelf-life and this diminishes the quality considerably. Food cooked in trans-fat adversely affects brain health and hence those with depression should avoid it.
- Foods rich in sodium – excessive salt is not good for one’s health as they cause havoc to the neurological systems which in turn can lead to depression.
- Caffeine – caffeine has an adverse impact on sleep which automatically makes it a no-no for those suffering from depression. Sleep deprivation can worsen one’s mood swings as well.
- Processed food – high in sodium and sugar, processed food is bad for one’s overall health in ways more than one. Excessive consumption of such foods elevates inflammation in the body which has a great negative impact on brain function and moods in depression patients.
- Soy Sauce – Some studies have shown a linkage between gluten sensitivity and depression. So those with depression should stay away from soy sauce as it has a high gluten content.
- Apple Juice – since juices have a greater concentration of refined fructose, it leads to an elevation in blood glucose levels which triggers adrenaline-inducing anxiety and unrest. This can create great distress for those with depression so it is better to consume whole fruits than fruit juices.
- Fermented food – some studies showed an increase in anxiety episodes in those with depression that consumed fermented foods like pickle, etc. Fermented foods contain histamines which adversely impacts those with anxiety issues.
One can take comfort in knowing that only by consuming certain foods and avoiding others can have a great impact on our moods, and favor in bettering the signs of depression. However, if diagnosed with depression it is always best to consult one’s doctor or nutritionist before relying on any single source for relief. Depression pro-foods should also be consumed in moderation so as to avoid other health risks related to excessive consumption of the same.