Depression is actually a mental illness that is characterized by gloom over virtually every aspect of an individuals life. The body, mood and and thoughts are all involved. It has become quiet common in these modern times due to a number of factors within and outside the individuals environment. The COVID pandemic has triggered a new world order that has disrupted the old ways of living. People are challenged to move out of their former comfort zones and begin a new life in the post COVID world space. Its a situation that one may not get out of instantly but calls for support inorder to overcome it.
Neurotransmitters and Depression
In our brain we have neuro-transmitters. These are chemicals that are capable of relaying information amongst the brain cells. These chemicals are made utilizing food nutrients. It is suspected that depression may be due to lack of serotonin. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is used to make serotonin, a calming chemical. It is responsible for making you relax and drowsy leading to even sleep. Tyrosine is also another amino acid from food that help produce dopamine and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters help awaken the brain. You become more alert to your surroundings and can act quickly.
Therefore it can be seen that food or diet may play a vital role in depression prevention and management apart from other factors.
Signs and Symptoms of Clinical Depression
There are a number of symptoms that have been tabulated to recognize depression. Some most common ones may include the following:
- Developing a low self-esteem.
- Demonstrating anxiety, sadness and hopelessness
- Neglecting common hygiene
- Decreased energy and participating in normal daily life activities.
- Self isolation
- Concentration problems and improper decision making
- Adjustments in both eating and sleeping habits.
- Persistent physical symptoms
- Having suicidal and death thoughts and tendencies.
- Restlessness and irritability
Seek professional help if you or a loved one has a few of the above signs. You may be having or experiencing clinical depression.
Conventional Drugs for Depression
We have a number of prescription drugs used in the management of depression. Some of them include:
Remedies for Depression
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Our brain and neurons are mostly composed of fat. The neurons are the transmitters of signals in the brain. Failure to obtain the essential fats for proper brain functioning may lead to lower production of neuro transmitters. This may end up promoting depression and other mental disorders.
For the efficient running of our brains we need fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6 but should be balanced. However when we consume processed and refined food we tend to supply more of omega-6 than omega-3. The refined foods generally may contain omega-6 from corn, soybean and other oils in our processed diet. Omega-3 fatty acids may be derived from a nutritious diet comprising of fatty fish e.g. mackerel and salmon. Green leafy vegetables, flaxseeds, canola oil and walnuts are also important sources. Take note that packaged snacks are high in omega-6 and should be avoided.
It has been observed that people with a deficiency of selenium in their body tend to be in low moods. An adequate amount raises the moods of people making them become more cheerful and even confident. It also helps increase alertness and decreases anxiety if your energy levels are low.
Selenium is a powerful antioxidant and also help protect damage to brain tissues. The best sources of selenium are brazil nuts, poultry, mushrooms, sea vegetables and whole wheat.
A state of iron deficiency may lead to depression. The consumption of deficient diets or diets that hinder iron absorption may lead to this state. For example people taking NSAIDs(Non Steroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs) may be at risk of developing a deficient state. You should take note that if you arent taking meat in your diet then its important to eat plenty of green leafy vegetables and legumes. Vitamin C intake is also important to help in the absorption of iron.
It has been observed that a number of depressed people generally have low levels of folate, an important member of the B vitamins. It also helps promote the absorption of iron. Its found in abundance in the following food sources:
- Join groups
- reconnect with old friends and family members
- You can provide some sort of volunteer work to the community
- Socialise with members of your neighborhood
- Join a meditation group or gymn
- Practice creative healing visualization
- Practice positive affirmations
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