Depression, nutrition | July 14, 2017 | Author: Naturopath
Depression is the second cause of disability in the world is thought to affect millions every year. In Australia, around 1 in 6 women and 1 in 8 men experience some level of depression.
Can Food Affect Your Mood?
Nutrition is highly connected with depression. Research shows that the Western Diet, characterised by high intake of processed or fried foods, refined grains, sugary products, and alcohol, is associated with the risk of developing depression. In contrast, a healthy diet - high in plant foods, such as vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains, olive oil and fish - reduces the risk of depression and can improve depressive symptoms.
These include: yoghurt, kefir, tempeh, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, etc.
You have probably heard of the term ‘probiotics’ – the type of good bacteria defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as ‘Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host’.
Although the link between gut bacteria and the brain are not completely understood, studies found that patients with mood disorders have different composition of bacteria in their gut when compared with healthy controls.
Naturally fermented foods and beverages contain probiotic microorganisms that have been associated with many health benefits, and can influence both the composition and diversity of your gut bacteria.
These healthy nuts contain significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants that are beneficial for our brain. Healthy male college students who consumed a walnut diet for 8 weeks in the form of banana bread with walnuts experienced improved mood. Interestingly though, female participants did not observe any mood changes.
Fish is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. The two main types of omega-3 fatty acid; eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are found in very high concentration in the human brain and are involved in its function. Studies found omega-3 fatty acid concentrations to be lower in the blood of patients with depression, and intake of fish has been shown to improve symptoms of depression. Fish is also rich in tyrosine, a precursor of brain neurotransmitters that influence mood and stress, including dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine.
A study in four south Asian countries found that those who consumed less than five servings of fruit and vegetables per day were at higher risk of depression. Antioxidants, present in fruit and vegetables, protect us from oxidative stress and inflammation, both associated with depression. For highest levels of antioxidants, choose colourful fruits and vegetables such as dark leafy greens (e.g. spinach and kale), beetroot, blueberries, cherries, pomegranate, plus garlic, onions, and tomatoes.
You will be pleased to know that -
Chocolate makes people happy
Australian scientists found that polyphenols in cocoa increase sense of calmness and contentedness.
In the study, seventy-two healthy adults received different doses of a dark chocolate drink. After 30 days, those who drank the highest dose reported greater calmness.
Magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc. Some studies show that intake of these minerals is associated with improved mood.
Fish oil. Results from studies are mixed, however some studies have suggested that intake of fish oil supplements can reduce the risk of depression.
Vitamins B: folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. Intake of these 3 vitamins has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression.
Vitamin D. low levels of vitamin D are associated with clinically significant depressive symptoms.
Curcumin. Curcumin, the yellow-coloured phytochemical that is thought to be the primary active compound in turmeric, is a potent anti-inflammatory compound. Patients with major depressive disorder who took curcumin supplements reported an antidepressant effect, similar to that of a standard antidepressant medication.
Don't forget to add-in those Mind-body activities which can help elevate the mood.
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Bishwajit, G., O’Leary, D. P., Ghosh, S., et al. (2017). Association between depression and fruit and vegetable consumption among adults in South Asia. BMC Psychiatry, 17(1), 15.
Health and Nutritional Properties of Probiotics in Food Including Powder Milk with Live Lactic Acid Bacteria. Available online: http://ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/009/a0512e/a0512e00.pdf
(accessed on 4 July 2017)
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