Updated: Oct 5, 2019
Food vs Pharmaceuticals
Mental illness, such as depression is one of the most common health problems in Australia, with one in five people experiencing it at some stage in life.
People who are depressed can find it difficult to function on a daily basis, key can symptoms include: low mood, difficulty with daily functions – for example socialising, feeling ‘over-stressed’ and a tendency to see things worse than they may be!
The benefits of medication and therapy are well known, but there is another important area to consider YOUR DIET! HAVE YOU TRIED TO GET DIET-NOSTIC WITH FOOD BASED SOLUTIONS? Read below for a food fix!
Omega-3 essential fatty acids assist in brain function. These good fats are needed to build the brain’s neural connections as well as the receptor sites for neurotransmitters such as serotonin. Research has shown a deficiency can create anxiety, irritability, restlessness and poor concentration.
EAT MORE: Oily fish such as trout, salmon, mackerel,sardines, flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts.
B vitamins are important for the nervous system function and the production of energy from food. They are considered “anti-stress” nutrients, helping to relieve anxiety. Niacin (B3), Pyridoxine (B6) and Folic Acid (B9) all work with the amino acid tryptophan to produce serotonin, the “feel-good” chemical.
EAT MORE: Legumes, wholegrains, nuts, seeds, green leafy vegies, eggs, chicken, red meat and milk.
Keeping blood-sugar levels balanced are essential. If they fluctuate during the day, so will your mood! This can be a contributing factor in people with depression. A diet high in sugary, white, processed carbohydrate foods will cause sudden peaks in the amount of glucose in your blood, resulting in irritability, fluctuating mood and anxiety.
EAT MORE: Whole-grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, yoghurt, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish and chicken. Having smaller meals more regularly and including protein-rich foods also helps to stabilise blood-sugar levels and curb sugar cravings.
Serotonin (a neurotransmitter) is responsible for making us ‘feel content.’ It is manufactured in the body using the amino acid Tryptophan. To decrease depressive symptoms it is vital that you keep your Tryptophan leaves chugging along! Tryptophan converts to 5-HTP (which then converts directly to serotonin: THE HAPPY CHEMICAL in our brain!) Few foods actually contain 5-HTP or serotonin thus everything depends on you getting g enough tryptophan from your diet.
EAT MORE: Lean chicken, turkey, beef, brown rice, fish, milk, eggs, cheese, nuts, bananas, peas, pumpkin, potato, corn and spinach, dark chocolate. Avoid anti-serotonin foods, these include caffeine, soda, diet sweetened foods.
If you would like some assistance ensuring these foods are in your diet, with the correct amount for your goals and body type get in touch we can work together to boost your mood!