Eat Against Depression with Foods That Fight the Blues

Incorporating the following meats, fish, grains, and herbs into one’s diet can not only promote mental well-being but support the healing of one’s mind.

Anyone who has experienced depression or that of a loved one knows the search for any and all possible avenues of healing, including various medications, psychiatric care, and even exercise regimes. Yet because modern food processing has altered traditional nutrients, depression is increasingly linked to food allergies and the lack of certain fats and minerals in one’s diet. Consequently, carefully choosing of what goes into the body has never been more crucial when it comes to reclaiming a healthy, happy life after depression.

Fatty Acids Fight Depression

Because two-thirds of the brain is made of fats, fatty acids are a necessary part of the human diet. Two, in particular, omega-3s and omega-6s, are absolutely vital. Sources of omega-6s happen to be abundant in modern diets, but omega-3s must be added more intentionally. Vegetarian sources of omega-3s include green leafy vegetables, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and sea vegetables like algae. Not surprisingly, the best animal source is fish. In her book Rebuild from Depression, Amanda Rose recommends salmon (the “wilder” the better), sardines, anchovies, herring, oysters, clams, and fish oil as excellent sources of omega-3s. Rose’s blog is a wealth of information and even free family recipes for cooking delicious mood-lifting meals.

Complete Proteins: Amino Acids

Amino acids are the components that make proteins. The human body creates many of its own amino acids, except for nine amino acids that must be obtained through the diet. Depression can be linked to deficiencies in these nine. Foods which contain all nine amino acids are the solution, and these are called “complete proteins.” Among the richest complete proteins are animal products like beef, poultry, fish, dairy and grains like soy, oats, amaranth, and quinoa.

Vitamins B and D

Vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid or B9 support the nervous system and deficiencies in these areas can lead to depression. Dr Andrew Weil profiles these important vitamins on his site, which offers a free vitamin advisor. B6 is prevalent in food, including spinach, carrots, bananas, cereals, beans, dairy products, and potatoes. Weil warns not that recommend maximums are 100mg a day, as too much B6 can be dangerous. However, there is no danger when it comes to B12, which is found only in animal products, including dairy, meat, fish, and shellfish. B9 is found in spinach, green vegetables, beans, asparagus, melon, beans, lemons, yeast, and mushrooms.

Vitamin D is absorbed from sunlight exposure, so winter can pose the threat of deficiency. Besides fortified milk and breakfast cereals, herring, oysters, steelhead trout, salmon, fish oil and soy products are rich in D and can be supplemented when sunlight is at a minimum.

Minerals

Minerals vital to the healthy functioning of the nervous system include magnesium, zinc, and iron for postpartum women. Magnesium is available in whole grains, leafy green vegetables, nuts, beans, avocados, soybeans, and halibut. Foods highest in iron include beef, chicken, and pork liver, as well as mussels and oysters. Zinc is found in beef, lamb and veal, eggs, cooked oysters, legumes (beans and peas), pumpkin seeds, whole grains, and nuts. Foods highest in iron include beef, chicken, and pork liver and shellfish such as oysters, mussels, and clams.

Dark Chocolate and Mood

The chemical compounds in dark chocolate (as opposed to milk chocolate), can promote positive mood by raising serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that comes from the amino acid tryptophan, and involved in sleep, memory, and mood regulation. Endorphins are compounds of amino acids that act like opiates in the body, calming and lifting the mood.

Herbs That Help Happiness

According to Jack Challem’s book The Food-Mood Solution, certain herbs are beneficial in battling depression, stress, anxiety, and premenstrual syndrome. These include Ginkgo, Ginseng, Spanish Sage, Rhodiola, and St. John’s Wort and can often be found in bottled supplements.

To enhance mood, support healthy brain function, and keep depression at bay, select foods that contain the fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals cited. Many foods contain more than one; lamb, for example, is a good source of both B12 and zinc. Research is made easy at Nutritiondata, which provides nutrition facts with an analysis for every food imaginable. The fact is “you are what you eat” is true at even the biochemical level. And this, in the end, is good news.

 

Learn to Sleep More and Better Every Night

Reduce Anxiety and Create a Schedule to Get More Sleep At Night

Most doctors agree that the average adult needs about eight hours of sleep, yet most adults are lucky to get six hours of sleep.

Between everything that needs to be done each day, tossing and turning, and daily worries, many people believe there just isn’t enough time for restful, healthy sleep. Some of the steps below can help to increase the quality and amount of sleep each night.

Go to Bed Earlier and Stick to a Schedule for a Better Night’s Sleep

Gradually increasing the time spent in bed each night will eventually lead to an increased time spent sleeping. If a person goes to bed even just 10 minutes earlier each week, they will gradually increase the amount of time they are in bed resting, and in a month, will spend at least 40 minutes more in bed each night – hopefully leading to an increase in time spent sleeping. And even if sleep does not come immediately, more time spent resting will be beneficial the next day.

Keeping a schedule is important to sleeping better, too. If a person goes to bed around the same time each night and gets up at the same time every day, the body will be conditioned to expect to be asleep between those hours. Stick to the schedule every day, even on weekends and days off, and the body will respond with a more fulfilling and restful night.

Remove Distractions from the Bedroom to Sleep Heavily

Bedrooms are for sleeping. They are not watching television, surfing the Internet, or doing laundry. A bedroom should be a safe haven, associated with restfulness and relaxation, and bringing a television or a computer into that safe haven can increase anxiety. If the body is conditioned to do little more than sleep in the bedroom, it will know exactly what to do when it comes time for sleep, and the mind will follow suit. Occupying the mind with distractions is detrimental to an easy sleeping environment.

If the body does not relax immediately and the mind runs wild, keep a journal or notebook on the nightstand. When an idea pops into the mind, write it down in the notebook and forget about it until the morning. Anxiety is the number one reason people cannot sleep at night, and if the idea is written down it can be forgotten until morning – a more appropriate time to deal with the problem – leaving more time for sleep.

Revamp the Bedroom for Better Sleep

Anxiety is the number one reason people cannot sleep at night, and the number two reason is too much light coming in through windows and doorways. Blackout window shades can be purchased to help reduce light from outside, and in addition, the shades also will help to reduce sound, as they are designed to absorb outside distractions.

Another reason why people often cannot sleep is that they need a new mattress. Many mattresses come with at least a 10-year warranty, but the average person will replace their mattress after only 7.8 years. There are many reasons for this, but chief among them are dust mites. Dust mites breed in mattresses, breaking down foam units and other components in the bed, making it feel different and uncomfortable over time. The goal is to spend one-third of the day in the mattress (eight hours) and thus one-third of the life. Therefore, a good mattress is one of the most important components for sleeping well.

Sleeping well is not a habit, but rather a lifestyle, and learning to sleep better will take time. Be patient and make a few simple changes at a time. If only one or two of these suggestions are followed, a person will find they are able to sleep better and for longer at night, hopefully increasing the overall quality of life. If all of the habits and suggestions are followed, a person will find themselves headed toward a sleeping makeover, thus changing their life.

 

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