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Fighting Depression with the Right Foods

Written March 30th, 2012
Categories: Depression Treatments, Neurohealth

foods for depressionWe often underestimate the rich amount of vitamins and minerals found in the food we consume. Our ancestors treated all kinds of diseases by including the right ingredients in their diets; anything from stomach problems to cancer. Mankind has now been able to utilize science to create and modify these ingredients and create medicine that can better target a disease and fight it more efficiently.  But as with anything else, medicine is also going back to basics and doctors all over the world are suggesting you add more food-based vitamins and minerals and that these – along with your prescribed medicine – can boost up your defenses.

How food can help treat depression symptoms:

Serotonin has long been blamed for being one of the culprits of depression. It acts as a neurotransmitter and helps relay signals from one area of the brain to another. Out of the approximately 40 million brain cells, most are influenced by serotonin – especially those related to mood, sexual desire and function, appetite, sleep, memory and learning, temperature regulation and some social behavior. It is believed that an imbalance in serotonin levels may influence mood in a way that leads to depression[1].

In addition to serotonin, sugar levels also play a role in how “moody” we feel and the amount of energy we have to sustain us throughout a long day. You might have heard people telling you to avoid sugary products in winter to avoid the “sugar rush and crash” that follow.

Foods you should avoid:

-          Love that cup-o-joe? Save the coffee until after you finish your meal. Coffee tends to suppress serotonin.

-          Sweets flood you with insulin (sugar) which might give you instant energy but its effects are temporary and you’ll face a “crash” after.

-          Fatty foods (carbs) can have the same effect as sweets. It’s best to avoid them, especially during winter months when our Vitamin D levels are low.

Foods to definitely munch on!

-          Beets![2] In all their glory beets are a good source of vitamin B and help you maintain a balance amount of folic acids in your blood. One cup of beets supplies 30% of your daily folate needs. When in short supply, it can trigger mental fatigue and insomnia. Eat them fresh, boiling them of frying them will lower the amount of vitamin B.

-          Seaweed: Just another excuse to treat yourself to some Asian cuisine. Seaweed is rich in iodine, an essential nutrient required for thyroid production and regulation of metabolism. When in short supply, it can trigger hypo or hyperthyroidism, fatigue, weight gain and depression. Iodine is extremely important for pregnant and nursing women and may help prevent postpartum depression. Just ¼ cup provides you with over 275% of your daily iodine needs.

-          Salmon: omega-3 fatty acids help cell membranes remain pliable and flexible and thus make it easier to transmit information to all parts of your brain. Vegan? You can also find omega-3 in plant-based substitutes including walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and green, leafy vegetables. Omega-3 is also good for a number of other conditions so make sure to include it in your diet!

-          Cow or soy milk, herring or atlantic raw fish, mollusks, orange juice, mushrooms[3]:  Vitamin D works as an anti-inflammatory and increases flexibility of cell membranes, making neurotransmitters work better. Add it to your diet during winter months.

-          Quinoa: good source of protein and vitamin B that help break down and release sugar slowly.

Here at TMS NeuroHealth Centers we recommend you include these foods in your diet while you undergo TMS Therapy. Our non-drug, non-invasive therapy will stimulate your brain and “turn on” those parts of your brain affected by depression. An added dose of healthy and nutritious foods will definitely help maintain and enhance the desired results.

 

 Have you adjusted your daily diet already? Notice a difference? Let us know!



[1] http://www.webmd.com/depression/recognizing-depression-symptoms/serotonin

[2] http://www.shape.com/latest-news-trends/foods-fight-depression

[3] http://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-000102000000000000000.html

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