Depression is a word that is thrown around very lightly in today's world. Not every mood swing you go through is depression. It is defined as the mental state which is characterized by recurring negative thoughts, odd behaviour, helplessness, hopelessness, anxiety attacks, a feeling of worthlessness, a low mood and a feeling of aversion to well-being and doing everyday activities.
Depression is not caused by one factor alone. It is a combination of events and other reasons that collectively lead to depression. Epigenes, the layer above the helical structure of a strand of DNA, gets altered due to factors like stress, smoking, foods, etc. These modifications activate and deactivate the genes in ways that harm the overall mental and physical health of the body.
There are several ways to treat this condition. It could be done by providing support to the person, the family could be educated on how to deal with the individual, antidepressant drugs, psychotherapy, a change in lifestyle, meditation, music therapy, or by stimulating certain parts of the brain using medical devices.
One could also consume a diet containing foods that are known to fight and prevent depression.
Since depression is considered a mental state, foods that promote brain health are encouraged. Foods rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Tryptophan, Vitamin B (particularly B12), Selenium and Vitamin D, all these along with some sunshine, exercise, and other de-stressing activities can help fight depression.
So, here's a list of 20 depression-fighting foods.
High consumption of drinks containing a lot of sugars, like soda and soft drinks, is associated with depression. These dehydrate the body disrupting regular metabolism. Switch to water instead, it's the universal solution. Infuse it with fruits and veggies. This will not only re-hydrate your cells, it will also promote well-being of the brain.
Milk contains a reserve of Vitamin D, which is known to elevate one's mood. This vitamin D acts as a neurotransmitter. Thus, glass or warm milk before bed is a very good idea.
Yogurt is a rich reserve of proteins, fats and probiotic bacteria. Serotonin and other neurotransmitters are produced by the microbes in the gut, which directly affect an individual's mood. The fat present in the yogurt also acts as a brain booster.
Dark-coloured greens - kale, spinach and asparagus - help fight depression. Spinach and Asparagus are rich in Folic Acid. This Folic Acid improves the health of the Red Blood Cells in our body. This improved immunity is a real brain booster by itself. Kale fights all types of inflammation that occurs in the body. And since depression is nothing but brain inflammation, Kale works wonders!
5. Fish - Salmon & Sardines:
Both these fish types are rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids. This Omega-3 reduces inflammation, cholesterol and pressure in the body. The fat keeps the brain and nervous system healthy, keeping moods balanced.
This contains several nutrients and vitamins like Folate, Uridine and Magnesium. These act as neurotransmitters, enhancing an individual's mood.
7. Dark Chocolate:
Dark chocolate is known to be a very popular food for its various health benefits. It is a very good antioxidant which prevents premature ageing of cells. The cocoa in dark chocolate is a rich source of neurotransmitters like Phenylethylamine, Dopamine and Serotonin. These neurotransmitters keep depression at bay, making you feel good from within.
8. Olive Oil:
Olive oil has antioxidants and Monosaturated Fatty Acids that are known to reduce inflammation of the brain. This also reduces the risk of many cardiovascular diseases, keeping the body healthy and depression away.
Mushrooms act as a probiotic, promoting healthy gut bacteria. The Serotonin produced in the gut by these is an effective neurotransmitter. Also, the role of mushrooms is to lower blood sugar levels, balancing out our mental state.
10. Walnuts and Cashews:
Walnuts contain a lot of Magnesium. Cashews contain a lot of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Both these are known to reduce the risks of depression by maintaining the health of the brain.
11. Black Beans:
The digestion of beans occurs in the body in an even and slow manner. This keeps the blood sugar levels in check. And when the blood sugar levels are balanced, so is one's mood. They also contain Folate and Magnesium, both these help in the prevention of depression.
These red beauties are rich in Folic Acid, Lycopene and Alpha-lipolic Acid.
These promote the production of healthy amounts of neurotransmitters like Serotonin, Norepinephrine and Dopamine.
Kaempferol and Quercetin that are present in this sugar-substitute reduce inflammation of the brain. They also aid in weight-loss. A double benefit!
14. Mozzarella Cheese:
Isn't the word "Cheese" enough to lift your mood up? It also contains Tryptophan and Zinc. These two help in cell development, skin texture and most importantly fight the depression from within.
The family of berries has an abundance of antioxidants in them. They also have high fiber. These are linked with lower depression symptoms.
These, like berries, have a lot of antioxidants. These reduce and repair oxidative damage and inflammation on a cellular level. Apples also contain soluble fibers which keep the blood sugar levels in check, keeping us happy.
Onions contain anti-inflammatory flavonoid antioxidants that help to reduce inflammation of the gut. And we already know, if the gut is happy, so is the mind.
18. Brussels Sprouts:
These tiny things are a two-nutrient punch to boost our moods. They contain Folate, which helps in the production of the required neurotransmitters. They also contain high fibre that keeps the moods in check, by keeping the blood sugar levels balanced.
Oysters are very rich in Zinc. The level of Zinc present in the body is directly proportional to an individual's mood.
Ever wondered why Bugs Bunny was so happy? Carrots is the answer! Carrots are rich in Lutein, an antioxidant, and it's the perfect crunchy snack to boost your mood and burn calories.
A good diet is vital. So, crunch, munch and keep depression at bay!