Using Diet To Control Depression

In many cases, depression can be helped by altering the diet. There is a definite cause and effect relationship between food and emotions.

Although there are hundreds of medications on the market for treating depression, the consensus is that diet plays a big part in depression and its treatment. Many believe that there is a direct relationship between food and emotions. Clinical studies have shown that even small deficiencies in key nutrients can be enough to trigger episodes of depression.

However, signs of major depression should be taken seriously and a doctor consulted immediately.

The signs of major depression are:

depression of mood

loss of interest in normal activity

changes in sleep patterns

significant weight change or appetite change

loss of energy

feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt

change in activity-excessive nervousness or slowing down

inability to concentrate or make decisions

recurring thoughts of death or suicide

If you have five or more of the above symptoms, do not try to self-treat your depression. You may have a major depression which needs to be treated by a physician or psychiatrist immediately.

If your depression is diet-related or due to a deficiency in some nutrient, and if you are not dealing with a major depression, you may try changing your moods with some diet

modifications. One of the key mood-related nutrients is folic acid. Many patients experiencing depressive behavior have been found to be folic acid deficient. Scientists say that increasing the amounts of folate (folic acid in foods) can make marked differences in depressive behavior. Folate levels are high in foods such as beans, greens, okra, sweet potatoes and squash. Raising the consumption of such foods can alter and, in some cases, completely eliminate mood swings and depressive behavior.

Carbohydrates are also known to be important regulators in mood swings and depressive behavior. Some people crave carbohydrates (sweets, starches, pasta) for the calming effect they have on the body while others crave carbohydrates for the energizing feeling they create. While it is known that carbohydrate consumption causes depression and mood swings in some people, it is not known exactly why. Doctors believe that increasing or decreasing the carbohydrates consumed can have a significant effect on mood. Care must be taken, however, to consume sensible amounts of carbohydrates, particularly those that contain sugar, so as not to aggravate any physical conditions that may be present.

Selenium has also shown a marked effect in lifting depression. This mineral can be obtained by eating foods such as tuna and whole-grain foods. Large amounts of these foods are not required to get the benefits since only a small amount of Selenium is needed.

For all except those who are clinically depressed and have diagnosed mental illnesses, a modification of one's diet can significantly alter sporadic states of depression. Experimentation with various types of foods at different times of day will show the effects that foods have on moods whether in a depressive state or not. However, this has not been medically proven.

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