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5 Foods Which Will Keep You Miles Away From Depression

posted on 7/29/2016 Facebook Facebook

Our fast paced highly functional lives are keeping us busy and engaged at all times. However, as our phones are getting smarter and our schedules tighter, certain matters are getting overlooked—one of which is our health. While social media has made it convenient to stay connected with each other at all times, people still feel disconnected and emotionally withdrawn. Mental health problems like anxiety, depression and several other mood disorders afflict many amongst us. 

Depression: A Melancholic State Of Affairs
Depression is one of the biggest public health challenges because of its high incidence. According to worldwide research, including in India, at least one in five women and one in 10 men suffer from major depressive disorder at some time in their lifetime. In India, this prognosis is grim wherein at least 5% of the population lives with a mental illness, which translates to over 50 million people. What’s interesting is that this number has a close bearing with the rate of suicides, the number of people suffering from heart disease and days of productivity loss. However, it is highly under-recognized as also misdiagnosed. 

The main problem is that very few admit to needing help. Psychiatric experts say that just 10% people approach them for treatment often moving from doctor to doctor, looking for answers. A diagnosis of clinical depression is based on the presence of five or more of the 10 symptoms laid down by the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO). 

The symptoms can range from depressed mood to recurrent negative thoughts to significant changes in sleep, behavior, weight or appetite. Depression can bring about subtle changes ever so slowly that many people miss it until much later. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), by 2020, depression will be the second most prevalent medical condition in the world. 

All said and done, we need to focus on things that will help us beat this malady. It will come as no surprise to you that what we eat can have a big impact on how we feel, mentally as well as physically. When under stress, we often reach out to food to help us cope and feel better. Unfortunately, most of us turn to a bar of chocolate, a pot of ice cream or a plate of curly fries. Truth be told these foods can actually make you feel worse. A healthy diet which is rich in healthy omega-3 fats, essential vitamins, minerals, serotonin boosting protein and antioxidants can help you manage your depression symptoms. 

Add These Five Foods To Your Diet & Keep Depression Away
1.Walnuts
They look like your brain for a reason you know!! Considering one of the biggest benefits of walnuts is your support brain function, these nuts have now been scientifically proven to be ‘true brain food’ and a leader among the healthiest nuts. The human brain is made up of about 60% of what is called "structural fat" and needs high-quality fats like omega-3s to function properly by keeping the brain fluid and flexible. Walnuts are one of the richest plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and numerous studies have demonstrated how omega-3 fatty acids support brain function and reduce depression symptoms. Omega-3 fats also support heart health and fight heart disease by lowering triglyceride levels and reducing dangerous plaque formation in the arteries.

2.Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
One of the most nutrient dense foods to choose as a part of eating healthy are dark leafy greens. Spinach, kale, fenugreek, mustard greens, and cabbage etc. are rich in vitamin B6, folate, and tryptophan which are all important for a healthy functioning brain. Tryptophan found in spinach helps increase the levels of serotonin in the body. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which plays a vital role in regulating your mood. 

3.Berries
Berries contain high amounts of polyphenols, which have powerful anti-inflammatory effects that help our bodies recover. High levels of inflammation in the body have been linked to symptoms of depression. Strawberries, cherries, blueberries, raspberries etc. are all rich in antioxidants which curb inflammation and support overall health. 

4.Low-Fat Dairy
Skimmed milk, yogurt, low-fat cheeses, and other dairy products are rich in calcium, vitamin D, and protein. These foods are rich in tryptophan which is essential for the production of serotonin—a neurotransmitter which helps elevates your mood. 

5.Avocados
This superfood contains tryptophan, folate, and omega-3. Three-fourths of the calories of an avocado are from fat, mostly monosaturated fat, in the form of oleic acid. They are low in sugar and high in dietary fiber, containing about 11 grams each. These nutrients help combat inflammation in the brain and regulate the brain’s neurotransmitters. 

References:
1.1: Rao TS, Asha MR, Ramesh BN, Rao KS. Understanding nutrition, depression and mental illnesses. Indian J Psychiatry. 2008 Apr;50(2):77-82. doi: 10.4103/0019-5545.42391. PubMed PMID: 19742217; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2738337.
2.Opie RS, Itsiopoulos C, Parletta N, Sanchez-Villegas A, Akbaraly TN, Ruusunen  A, Jacka FN. Dietary recommendations for the prevention of depression. Nutr Neurosci. 2015 Aug 28. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26317148.
3.Tavakkoli-Kakhki M, Eslami S, Motavasselian M. Nutrient-rich versus nutrient-poor foods for depressed patients based on Iranian Traditional Medicine resources. Avicenna J Phytomed. 2015 Jul-Aug;5(4):298-308. PubMed PMID: 26445711; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4587607.
4.Shabbir F, Patel A, Mattison C, Bose S, Krishnamohan R, Sweeney E, Sandhu S, Nel W, Rais A, Sandhu R, Ngu N, Sharma S. Effect of diet on serotonergic neurotransmission in depression. Neurochem Int. 2013 Feb;62(3):324-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2012.12.014. Epub 2013 Jan 7. Review. PubMed PMID: 23306210.
5.Martínez-González MA, Sánchez-Villegas A. Food patterns and the prevention of depression. Proc Nutr Soc. 2016 May;75(2):139-46. doi: 10.1017/S0029665116000045.Epub 2016 Feb 22. PubMed PMID: 26898781.
6.Quirk SE, Williams LJ, O''''Neil A, Pasco JA, Jacka FN, Housden S, Berk M, Brennan SL. The association between diet quality, dietary patterns and depression in adults: a systematic review. BMC Psychiatry. 2013 Jun 27;13:175. doi:10.1186/1471-244X-13-175. Review. PubMed PMID: 23802679; PubMed Central PMCID:PMC3706241.

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