Recently, as people suffering from depression turn away from prescription medications and start looking for alternative treatments, the depression diet has become increasingly popular. There are various nutrients and foods which can have a significant effect on one's sense of self, and science has pointed to a strong relationship between diet and depression.
While no one has a perfect diet, and most of us actually have pretty poor ones, diet and depression go hand in hand. Studies show that deficiencies in specific vitamins and minerals can actually increase your chances of succumbing to depression, especially if you have a family history of the disease.
A basic depression diet consists of cutting out such short-term mood and energy boosters such as sugar and caffeine. That means coffee, black tea, and chocolate (commonly used by depression sufferers) are out. Alcohol is also prohibited as it can cause the very same vitamin deficiencies that contribute to depression. As you can see, diet and depression are quite important to each other.
To replace poor eating habits, the depression diet focuses on maintaining a good balance of vitamins and minerals, particularly the B vitamins. Lack of folic acid is known to perpetuate depression in many people, while a low level of magnesium has been linked to suicidal tendencies. Choosing foods that are fresh and free of chemicals or preservatives is also an important part of a good diet.
Unfortunately, although we know that we need a balanced diet, diet and depression continue to be a major source of concern today. Most of our food is so processed and preserved that it has lost much of it´s original vitamin content. Even eating fresh food, it is difficult to maintain the perfect diet. Eating as healthily as possible might not be good enough, so anyone on a depression diet should also take a supplement to ensure his or her body is receiving everything it needs.
So, why does the depression diet work? It´s all a matter of chemicals. Our bodies are fueled by what we eat, and that includes the chemicals that keep our moods balanced. Minerals and vitamins, along with amino acids, fatty acids and enzymes are all necessary for the body to produce chemicals called neurotransmitters. The most commonly known of these chemicals are seratonin, dopamine and endorphins, all of which help keep us emotionally regulated.
When our diet is deficient as most modern diets are, the body is simply unable to create the necessary chemicals to maintain an equilibrium in the brain. Lack of one of these neurotransmitters can have drastic effects on our mental health, resulting in depression. Doctors tend to prescribe more chemicals to treat this condition, which can also be treated naturally. Diet and depression are cure and disease, and using diet to treat the disease is far more cost effective than many prescription drugs.
While a depression diet which corrects vitamin deficiencies may not cure all types of depression, it certainly helps sufferers feel better. In cases where the depression is the sole result of lack of minerals or vitamins, a balanced diet can actually relieve and prevent further depression.
Mike Stevens has been studying the mood disorders for years, and has written many articles on the subject. He is a regular contributor to Beat Your Depression Symptoms , a site discussing conventional and alternative ways to treat depression and related mood disorders.