7 Diet & Lifestyle Changes to Cure depression

Believe it that changing your diet could facilitate and enhance your mental and emotional spring-cleaning. You miraculously find yourself letting go of the old negative thought patterns. You find yourself healing emotionally, feeling more enthusiastic and vibrant, just happy to be yourself and be alive. As your body releases all the toxins that have accumulated through years of faulty eating and lack of exercise, you will feel that your mind and heart are also unburdening themselves. 1. Increase your raw food intake: Depression is usually caused by malnutrition. A person may be regular-sized (even obese) and still be malnourished. Being malnourished means your body does not have the right amount of nutrients due to regular consumption of nutrient-deficient foods, leading to poor digestion and assimilation. Eating the right food can truly put a smile on your face because being physically healthy will make you feel great. For example - a cup of raw green peas contains about 25 grams of protein; a cup of boiled peas only has 8 grams of protein. Raw food contains all the nutrients intact: enzymes, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, protein, fat and carbohydrates, all in their unaltered form.

Enzymes help your body digest the nutrients present in the food you eat. They improve your digestion without using up your body's own enzyme supply, thereby allowing your body to use its own enzymes for assimilation, detoxification, repair, and regeneration. Enzymes found in raw food will literally wash your cells clean. You will feel supercharged with energy, and experience an inexplicable sense of peace. So buy fruits and vegetables of every color. It would be like doing color therapy on the inside to improve your mood.

The body is ideally 80% alkaline and 20% acidic.

Dr. Gabriel Cousens, one of America's premier raw food experts, said that the body can easily acidify itself, but cannot make itself alkaline.

2. Increase your neurotransmitter reserves

Neurotransmitters are biochemical messengers. Low levels of neurotransmitters among adults cause various mood disorders. Lack of neurotransmitters among children can cause ADHD and autism.

Serotonin: It influences mood and makes us feel relaxed, optimistic and improves our ability to concentrate. Low levels of serotonin cause depression, irritability, insomnia, feelings of negativity and poor focus. Too much serotonin can cause an individual to feel sleepy or drowsy.

Food sources are milk, fish, cheese, bananas, beets, blue-green algae, brown rice fennel, figs, legumes, nuts, pineapple, potatoes, radishes, spinach, tomatoes and whole grains.

Dopamine is responsible for alertness, excitement, feelings of pleasure, and mental sharpness. Dopamine deficiency causes apathy and change in behavior.

Food sources are shellfish, fowl, soy products.

Norepinephrine/ Noradrenaline, is responsible for appetite control, energy, motivation, and drive. Low norepinephrine leads to depression, lack of ambition and drive.

Food sources are lean beef, fish, fowl, shellfish, cheese, green vegetables, soy products, grains, apples, pineapple, bananas, almonds and other nuts.

Endorphins induce feelings of euphoria and well-being; they are natural painkillers and antidepressants. Women who suffer from PMS usually lack this neurotransmitter. Regular exercise, dancing, playing sports, acupuncture, traditional acupressure, emotional freedom technique (or EFT), and brainwave entrainment all boost the level of this feel-good hormone in the body.

Enkephalins: Give psychological pain relief. A person lacking this neurotransmitter feels incomplete, unfulfilled, inferior, inadequate, insecure and fearful.

Food sources are seafood, fowl and lima beans.

Phenylalanine (amino acid): That makes the brain produce neurotransmitters which cause you to feel happy and motivated.

Food sources are fish, turkey, chicken, milk, cheese, eggs, cacao, beans, nuts, seeds, millet, potatoes, sweet potatoes, green peas, corn and spinach.

GABA or gamma amino butyric acid. It is responsible for generating feelings of calmness and relaxation. Lack of this nutrient results in restlessness and anxiety.

Food sources are Fish and wheat bran.

Tyrosine and trytophan (amino acid): It helps to improve your mood.

Food sources are chicken, turkey, fish, cheese and eggs. Vegetarian sources include beans, carrots, beetroots, fennel, tofu and oats.

3. Eat foods rich in mood-enhancing nutrients

Vitamin B3 assists in nerve function.

Food sources are bananas, tomatoes, watermelon, squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, potatoes, peanuts, peas, pine nuts, almonds and chestnuts.

Vitamin B6 is very important in maintaining normal nerve function. Its deficiency causes irritability, dizziness and confusion.

Food sources are bananas, watermelon, peas, avocado, carrots and potatoes,

Vitamin B12 is essential for central nervous system function.

Food sources are Nutritional yeast, sea vegetables, animal flesh and animal by-products.

Folate helps build the nervous system and maintains normal brain function.

Food sources are Orange, strawberries, blackberries, bananas, tomatoes, carrots, onions, green pepper, asparagus, peas, spinach, peas, peanuts and all tree nuts.

Calcium enables the nerves to communicate properly and is needed to maintain proper serotonin levels.

Food sources are oranges, lemon, strawberries, bananas, spinach, peas, asparagus, cabbage, mustard greens, soy, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, peanuts, almonds, pistachios, pine nuts and walnuts.

Zinc deficiency causes poor memory, mental lethargy and fatigue.

Food sources are pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, oats, cashews, legumes, mushrooms, lentils, sunflower seeds, whole grains, soybeans and wheat germ, fish, sardines, seafood, chicken, turkey, eggs and cheese

Chromium regulates blood sugar levels, improves metabolism of amino acids, and prevents anxiety, depression, manic rages and fatigue.

Food sources are fish, seafood, eggs, chicken, cheese and other dairy products, corn, brown rice, whole grains, potatoes with skin and mushroom.

Magnesium regulates energy production and relaxes nerves and muscles. It also brings PMS relief, alleviates anxiety, depression and insomnia.

Food sources are Tomatoes, apples, cacao, figs, grapefruits, bananas, blackberries, dates, strawberries, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, legumes, whole grains, garlic, lentils, beats, most nuts and eggs.

Selenium deficiency results in anxiety, hostility, irritability and depression.

Food sources are Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, peanuts, pecan, chestnuts, bananas, apples, grapes, peach, strawberries, orange, onions, spinach, peas, corn, mushrooms, sweet potatoes and potatoes.

Omega 3 enhances serotonin activity.

Food sources are Flax seeds, salmon and sardines.

Water: Drink lots of clean and pure water. As dehydration can cause headaches, light headedness and poor concentration. It can weaken short-term memory and affects vision.

4. Junk the junk foods and stabilize your blood sugar level

Glucose is the most important nutrient for proper brain function and low level of glucose can cause depression, irritability, fatigue, poor concentration, forgetfulness, fatigue, dizziness, blurred vision, digestive upsets and excessive thirst. Eating smaller, healthy, and balanced meals keeps the sugar level stable. Avoid refined sugar, white rice, white bread, and sugar-loaded breakfast cereals, alcohol, cigarettes, nicotine fatty meats, snacks, coffee and fried foods.

5. Correct other health problems that affect your mood

Hypothyroidism causes depression, poor memory, indigestion, constipation and weight gain. It should be treated for good health. Enzyme supplementation, coconut oil, and large amounts of raw food can help correct a poor metabolism.

Allergies diminishes the body's capacity to digest and assimilate nutrients, leading to malnutrition.

6. Take out the garbage/Detox

Pesticides, toxic environmental gases, chemical fertilizers in hormones, antibiotics, parasites, unfriendly bacteria, mercury in seafood, nitrates, nitrites, artificial color and flavors, emulsifiers, bleaching agents and preservatives all affect your body. Improve the efficiency of your digestive system by doing a detox to improve your mood and avoid serious diseases. This is mainly done by avoiding toxic food and by consuming large amounts of organic raw food. Eliminate red meat as it contains many toxins.

Parasite cleansing program provides prevention from malnutrition and improves the mood.

Fasting: During a fast the body concentrates more on healing and cleaning itself. One can do a water fast, lemonade fast, juice fast, or even a juice feast. Having a truly clean and healthy body can work wonders on the psyche.

7. Learn to de-stress and relax

Lack of sleep, everyday emotional trials and mental challenges deplete your body's supply of feel-good neurotransmitters. The vital body processes such as digestion, assimilation of nutrients, cell production, growth, repair and rejuvenation all get halted as the body shifts its focus on fighting stress. This impairs immune function and leads to malnutrition.

Inhaling the right scents can also assist in relaxation. Essential oils like lavender, geranium, patchouli, chamomile, neroli, ylang-ylang, rose and sandalwood can be used to feel more calm and at peace.

EFT (emotional freedom technique) can help to release negative memories and events in your life.

Anti-depressant herbs such as St. John's Wort, valerian and chamomile increase serotonin production. Raw cacao contains phenylethylamine, a brain chemical that gives one the feeling of being in love.

Dayanand Ayurvedic College,
Jalandhar-8 (Pb.)