Eat the following superior foods to support a healthy Body, Mind and Spirit, and fight depression.
Broccoli and other green vegetables help stabilize blood sugar level, especially when combined with the protein and fat in fish, chicken and turkey. Our moods usually track with blood sugar levels: When our blood sugar is on the rise right after we eat, most people feel pretty contented. If it goes up too high, people feel sleepy because high blood sugar turns off orexins, a family of neuropeptides involved in feeling alert.
Blueberries and other super fruits such as apples are high in antioxidants, which are substances that absorb the free radicals produced by stress. Too many free radicals cause wear and tear on the body.
Brown rice (organic) contains Vitamins B1 and B3, folic acid, and fiber, which helps to keep the digestive system regular and slow down the release of glucose into the bloodstream, preventing sugar lows and mood swings.
Cabbage contains Vitamin C, fiber and folic acid; and, protects against stress, infection, stomach ulcers, and heart disease, as well as many types of cancers, according to the American Association for Cancer Research. Add cabbage to a salad, stir fry, soup or raw juice.
Note: To avoid gas after eating cabbage, add a few fennel, caraway or cumin seeds before cooking.
Chickpeas are rich in iron, Vitamin E and fiber. To prepare a simple snack, mix a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas with some minced garlic, fresh lemon juice, and olive oil in your blender.
Fermented foods such as sauerkraut assist in digestion and assimilation of all the important nutrients you need for serotonin, the feel-good hormone. Fermented foods manufacture essential B vitamins that help with boosting your mood.
Folic Acid is found in leafy greens, beans and peanuts, orange juice, wheat germ, and many organic cereals. Researchers know that low levels of folic acid are directly linked to depression. A University of Toronto study showed that patients with higher levels of folic acid in their systems fought depression faster and more successfully than those without it.
Iron deficiency causes fatigue, low energy, and anemia, especially in women. Always check with your doctor before taking an iron supplement. However, there are many natural sources of iron that are easily added to one’s diet without any side-effects of a supplement. Good sources of iron include liver, beef, beans, peas, and nuts. It is easier for your body to assimilate iron from meat rather than vegetable sources. If you are a vegetarian, you can improve your iron assimilation by adding Vitamin C to your diet.
Magnesium-rich foods such as legumes, nuts, green vegetables, halibut, tuna, bananas, dried figs, barley, buckwheat, oat bran, prune juice, almonds, Brazil nuts, black beans, lima beans, and broccoli help to relax the body and reduce anxiety and tension.
Melatonin-rich foods such as oats, barley, ginger, tomatoes, cherries, bananas, cucumber, beets and rice, help to promote sleep. If you’re not sleeping well, increase your intake of melatonin-rich foods before resorting to a supplement; or, eat foods that raise your melatonin production, such as spirulina seaweed, soy nuts, cottage cheese, chicken, pumpkin seeds, turkey, and dried watermelon seeds. In addition, turn off the lights and TV when you turn in for the night. Sleeping with the lights on may inhibit your body’s natural production of melatonin.
Note: If melatonin foods don’t help, talk to your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before starting a nightly regimen of melatonin supplements.
Selenium in foods such as raw cacao, dark molasses and Brazil nuts is excellent for boosting brain function and eliminating depression.
Serotonin, which is the neurotransmitter that helps to improve our sense of well-being , can be increased by eating foods such as sunflower seeds, bananas, turkey, avocados, mangoes, broccoli, and almonds.
Sunshine (30 minutes a day) provides Vitamin D, and is a proven cure for depression.
Quinoa is a seed that is classified as a grain, and is considered one of the best sources of protein in the vegetable kingdom. This organic whole grain is a good source of B vitamins, breaks down and releases sugar slowly, so you don't get high levels of insulin and the ups and down of blood sugar. Also try oats, brown rice, or sprouted grain bread.
Vitamin B-3 (niacin) is essential for energy conversion in the body. Even mild deficiencies can cause depression, irritability, canker sores, and indigestion. If you regularly get canker sores in your mouth and lips, it may be a sign of B-3 deficiency. Excessive alcohol consumption causes vitamin B-3 deficiencies. Natural sources of this vitamin are beets, pork, chicken, dried beans and oily fish (such as mackerel or salmon).
Vitamin D has been shown to help with seasonal affective disorder. It may also have an anti-inflammatory effect and increase the flexibility of cell membranes, making the brain's neurotransmitters work better. While primarily generated after the skin soaks up the sun's ultraviolet B rays, Vitamin D can be obtained from oily fish and supplemented products like cod liver oil, cow or soy milk and orange juice. The recommended daily allowance of 200 to 400 international units per day is far too low. Instead, supplement with 2,000 IUs or higher, especially between October and April for people who live in the Northern states.
Vitamin E occurs naturally in wheat germ, nuts, seeds, and some fruits and vegetables. Vitamin E is a potent anti-oxidant and immune booster. It has been shown to strengthen red blood cells and fight viral infection. It is a good supplement for people with chronic fatigue and depression.
Walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seed and green, leafy vegetables are excellent plant-based sources for Omega-3s and support of the brain.
Water is absolutely essential for combating depression and fighting fatigue. Water helps improve mood, motor function, mind power, skin problems, and a host of other maladies. Always drink at least 3-4 cups of filtered water a day. If you drink soda or coffee, it is good to increase your water intake, since caffeine acts as a diuretic, pulling water from the body.
Wild salmon is a fatty, cold-water fish that contains Omega-3 fatty acids, which keep cell membranes pliable and flexible. Also try tuna, anchovies and sardines. Participants in a 2002 study featured in the Archives of General Psychiatry took just a gram of fish oil each day and noticed a 50-percent decrease in symptoms such as anxiety, sleep disorders, unexplained feelings of sadness, suicidal thoughts, and decreased sex drive.
Zinc is essential for metabolism and digestion. It plays an important role in immune system function, and helps fight weakness and fatigue. Zinc deficiencies often result in loss of appetite and irritability. Zinc-rich foods include: wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, whole grain wheat bran, and high protein foods