Last edited, 13 April 2020.
Believe it or not, nutrition greatly influences the arrival, severity, and duration of depression.
With each passing year, research increases our understanding of complex human biology, and more data suggests dietary factors are responsible for countless problems related to health. If poor dietary habits can perpetuate a mass of physical diseases, it makes sense that poor dietary habits can affect brain chemistry as well.
The brain is the richest source of fatty acids in the human body; therefore, alterations in membrane fluidity influence behavior, mood and mental function.
Alcohol, nicotine and caffeine can destroy these essential phytochemicals. It is therefore important that we eat foods that will keep us in a good mental state and avoid those that can promote depression.
|Deficiencies symptoms||Food sources|
|Thiamin (B1)||Depression, apathy, anxiety, irritability||soy, peas, beans, pineapple, oranges, lettuce, nuts, sweet potatoes, spinach|
|Riboflavin (B2)||Depression, irritability||tomatoes, spinach, soy, mushrooms|
|Niacin (B3)||Apathy, anxiety, depression, hyperirritability, mania, memory deficits, delirium, organic dementia||tomatoes, mushrooms, peanuts, potatoes, barley, rice, dates, seeds, asparagus|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||Restlessness, irritability, depression, fatigue||mushrooms, seeds, potatoes, peas, sweet potatoes, lentils, tomatoes, beans, broccoli, cucumber, califlower, watermelon|
|Pyridoxine (B6)||Depression, irritability, sensitivity to sound||potatoes, bananas, plums, spinach, peppers, soy, beans|
|Biotin (B7)||Depression, extreme lack of energy, drowsiness||Swiss chard, cauliflower, peanuts, mushrooms|
|Folic acid (B9)||Forgetfulness, insomnia, apathy, irritability, depression, psychosis, delirium, dementia||lentils, beans, spinach, asparagus, soy, broccoli, beets, peas|
|L-ascorbate (C)||lack of energy, hypochondriasis, depression, hysteria||oranges, peppers, peaches, papayas, grapefruit, strawberries, cranberries, broccoli|
Decrease Your Susceptibility to Depression
- Stay hydrated! An insufficient amount of water is also detrimental for brain function; the brain needs to be hydrated to work at optimum levels. A diet that could help mental functions should include adequate amount of water. Plus if your diet is high in fiber, you should increase your water intake to process the additional roughage.
The exact amount of water needed depends on age, gender, weight, health, level of physical activity, foods eaten, any medications taken – and the weather!
- Increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 is an important component of the membranes of nerve cells. They support nerve health so that neurotransmitters function normally. Plant-based omega-3 contains ALA which our body will convert it into DHA and EPA for our needed functions. Plant foods rich in omega-3 ALA are kiwi seeds and chia seeds.
- Decrease the toxic load on your body. Alcohol is a major toxin in the body, which functions as a brain depressant and increase cortisol levels. Caffeine is technically a stimulant, and has been linked to several studies to depression.
- Increase your exercise. The natural endorphins released during exercise seem to have a mood-elevating effect. Some of the best exercises for endorphin release are weight lifting, walking briskly, jogging, bicycling, cross-country skiing, swimming and aerobic dancing. Make a regular exercise program part of your healthy lifestyle.
- Eat more vegetables. Depressed people are often deficient in many phytochemcials. Phytochemcials are important for making and processing neurotranmitters in the body. Proper nutrition brings out the best in body, mind and spirit.
“Let food be your medicine and let medicine be your food.” This statement from Hippocrates, father of modern science reveals an early understanding of human biology and the influence of different nutrients on the delicate balance of the human system.
The Science of Nutritional Immunology supports this declaration from Hippocrates. Proper nutrition brings out the best in body, mind and spirit.