Nutrition to fight Depression
We hear a lot in the media lately about depression and natural ways to combat it. As well as looking at various forms of exercise, getting outdoors in nature and meditation etc., it is really worth looking at what we eat. In 2017, a study in Australia showed that a group of people with depression improved their condition by eating a healthier diet. This was the first study to show that diet alone could reduce the symptoms of depression. A study done in Spain (Universities of Las Palmas and Navarra) found that people who ate the classic Mediterranean diet rich in fish, veg, olive oil, nuts, fruit and whole grains were 30% less likely to develop depression in the first place than those who didn’t.
Why does nutrition show these great benefits? Your brain uses a lot of energy. This energy is supplied by the food we eat. We need the right nutrients for our brain to function to its optimum level.
Our brains are 60% fat, so foods that are high in the correct form of fats are crucial to our brain health. We get these fats from oily fish, nuts and seeds, olive oil, avocado etc.
OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
These are essential nutrients, (meaning, our bodies can’t make them), so we must get them in our diet. They are vital for brain health. Populations that don’t get enough Omega-3’s have higher rates of depression. They also improve the reception of neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the brain). Omega 3’s are also very anti-inflammatory, which further helps with many mental health issues.
- Fish (especially cold-water fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines)
- Nuts and seeds (such as flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts)
- Plant oils (such as flaxseed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil)
Vitamin D enhances the production of the growth factor for our brain cells. It is also anti-inflammatory.
- Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon.
- Beef liver.
- Egg yolks.