Posted on Jun 29, 2018, 9 p.m.
Pretty much everyone has felt a bit blue and down in the dumps, it’s not a nice feeling and can be a tough state of mind to shake for some. Anxiety and Depression Association of America has stated that major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability within USA.
More than 16.1 million Americans are affected by the disorder which is more prevalent in women. Major depressive disorder can be characterized by at least five of the diagnostic symptoms of which at least one is loss of interest and pleasure in activities or an overwhelming feeling of sadness. It is a highly complex disorder that does not have simple cause and effect explanations, rather caused by combinations of life stressors, medical conditions, genetic vulnerability, and substance use.
Nutrition has been more closely examined in recent years concerning foods that should be avoided as well as foods that should be consumed on a regular basis. If an individual is suffering from depression neurological health can be influenced by diet just as those with CVD should focus on heart healthy diets.
Inner workings of the brain are overwhelming and complex but it is understood that key neurotransmitters impact everything from mood to pain perception and appetite. Serotonin is a key player in regards to emotion of brain chemicals.
Nutrition has become an area of interest within the mental health community and has led to development of nutritional psychiatry. A study involving 67 subjects all in psychotherapy and/or taking antidepressants following unhealthy diets during a 12 week period had participants switch to a more healthy diet showed that their common depression scale improved by on average 11 points and 32% of the participants no longer met the criteria for depression.
To help put the bounce back in your step if you’re feeling blue try to avoid refined sugars, artificial sweeteners, processed foods, and hydrogenated oils; and replace them with plenty of fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and wild caught fish.
There have been many studies to well document links between sugar and depression, the impact is complex and it has been shown to cause insulin resistance, and promote addictive behaviors which are variables that can contribute to poor mood. Artificial sweeteners are just as bad and in some cases worse than sugar, they are linked to a wide range of behavioral and cognitive symptoms, and shown to impact key neurotransmitters including dopamine and serotonin acting as a chemical stressor.
Processed foods have been well documented in numerous studies to cause systemic toxicity from artificial additives to increased use of pesticides which are variables that impact mental and neurological health, causing inflammation and neurological changes. Refined grains and added sugars have been shown to increase risk of depression.
Relationship between hydrogenated oils and serious health complications has been well established, but hydrogenated oils are still found just about everywhere. Hydrogenated oils are liquid fats that have been turned into a solid such as margarine and other spreadable products which are typically high in trans fats content and don’t respond naturally in the human body which have been shown to cause inflammation, reduce serotonin levels, and disrupt hormone production doing more harm in the body than good.
Next time you are feeling a bit down, before you grab for that tub of ice cream, piece of pie, or donut keep in mind what you eat will influence your mood; good food = good mood. If you change your lifestyle habits and diet you can become more vibrant, both physically and mentally healthy, and become the more happy person that you deserve to be.
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