Hello I'm Donna Fish for Living Well With Depression. Nutrition is an essential part of your overall treatment plan when you're living with depression…
to keep it simple, just remember the following dietary dos and don'ts.
Do try to stick to a diet that's high in fiber and low in saturated fat. It's not only good for your heart, but it will also help keep things moving smoothly along your digestive tract,
which can make you feel more energetic.
Don't let so-called "comfort foods" get the best of you. Desserts, for example, may satisfy your sweet tooth, but they'll leave the rest of you feeling as empty as the calories they contain.
Instead… do find comfort in foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. These complex carbohydrates give you a boost in seratonin – a mood elevating chemical found in the brain –
without the resulting sugar crash of more refined carbs.
Plus, many of these foods are also high in antioxidants, which help protect our bodies – and our brains - against the damage of free radicals.
Don't depend on that third cup of coffee to lift you up in the morning …in the long run, caffeinated beverages will only weigh you down if you're living with depression.
Caffeine can trigger anxiety and make it difficult to sleep at night. And, as we will talk about later in this series, sleep is vital in the treatment of depression.
Do eat invigorating staples like turkey, tuna, or chicken. All are rich in protein, and therefore contain high levels of tyrosine – an amino acid that helps you concentrate and feel more alert.
Additionally, lean meats – as well as nuts, lowfat dairy products, and whole grains - are great sources of selenium – a mineral that studies have found to improve mild to moderate depression.
Another big do is all about omega 3 oils.
Studies have shown that people who get an inadequate amount of these essential fatty acids - found in foods like fish, nuts, and flaxseed - are more likely to have depression.
Don't forget that supplements can be a helpful way to be sure you're getting the nutrition you need.
While a balanced diet is the best strategy for optimizing health… taking vitamins like b12, folic acid, and vitamin d has been found to defend the body against mood disorders,
so check with your doctor to be sure you're getting enough from diet alone.
Now here's a final note that may interest some of you: alternative herbal remedies…. There are a variety of herbs that been used for years in some parts of the world
and are hailed for their mood-altering and mind clearing abilities. Two of the better known examples are St. Johns Wort and Ginkgo Biloba.
In the U.S., these and other alternatives are typically found at health food stores in the form of capsules, liquid extracts, or teas. These treatments may benefit those with minor depression.
However, doctors say some herbal remedies can interfere with the effectiveness of antidepressant medications, so proceed with caution.
That's a lot to chew on for now. But stay tuned for more great tips for living well with depression, right here on WebMD.