Depression is a word that, nowadays, takes on a much boarder variety of contents than it did years ago. Many people around the world still don’t understand the gravity and weight that something like depression can carry, but they do know that there is a number of medical, behavioural and psychological treatments for it. One thing a lot of people don’t know, is that your diet and your daily intake of nutrients directly affects your mental wellbeing. So, we’ve broken down for you – why nutrition should never be underestimated when it comes to depression?
What is Depression?
Depression, in its most debilitating of forms, is a feeling of deep loneliness and an unending void in your life. It is an incredibly serious health problem and has recently become the world’s leading cause of disability.
Studies indicate that around 350 million people across the globe suffer from depression. This number is higher than that of the entire population of the United States. Although this condition affects individuals of all ages and backgrounds, more women than men have been found to suffer from depression.
Why Nutrition Should Not Be Underestimated When It Comes to Depression?
In past times, health practitioners placed an incredible emphasis on treating depression with medication. However, recent work has been important in emphasising the value of nutrition in the treatment of depression.
Clinical psychologist and educator Julia Rucklidge has put over a decade of her life into analysing and investigating the importance of micronutrients in the expression of mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder, anxiety, ADHD and depression.
In a 2014 TEDx talk, entitled “The Surprisingly Dramatic Role of Nutrition in Mental Health”, Rucklidge put forward the notion that our current health care system is all-too-liberal with the prescribing of psychiatric medications to treat mental illness.
The research Rucklidge conducted indicates that minerals and vitamins, together known as micronutrients, can be hugely beneficial for the treating of mental illness. This comes as no surprise, as the food we consume daily attributes to the construction of the neurotransmitters our bodies require to maintain our mental health.
Although Rucklidge still sees the value in the prescribing of psychiatric medication for treating mental illnesses, she holds that these treatments often only go so far, as we now have more people suffering from depression in the world than ever before.
Nutrients That Help Fight Depression
- High Fibre/Low GI Carbohydrates (which help promote brain power)
- Protein (for building neurotransmitters)
- Healthy Fats (including olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds)
- B Vitamins (For remaining happy and stress-free)
- Vitamin C (which enhances memory, mood, brain function and intelligence)
- Vitamin D (which enhances memory, mood but also fights against cognitive decline)
- Magnesium (which enhances concentration, focus, mood and promotes healthy sleep cycles)
- Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids (helps fight mood swings, dementia, memory loss and more)
- Iron (increased metabolism)
- Zinc (for digestive function and immune health)
Failure to have a sufficent intake of the above nutrients and by consuming foods that are low in nutrients but high in problematic elements can have a serious impact on an individual’s mental health, as well as a range of other long and short-term problems.