World Health Day: Dealing With Depression


It is World Health Day, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has picked depression as the theme this year. Depression is a very common yet major disease in the modern world. Depression is not a disease but just a disorder of the mind. Today, the geographical distances are narrowing with technology however people are feeling all the more lonely, sans love, attachment, real emotions hence they are unable to fathom the unexpected changes in their lives. Depression can have varied effects on people ranging from violence, frustration, resentment to having problems with concentration, sleep disorders, anxiety the list is endless. It is believed that one in every five people is experiencing or struggling with a diagnosable mental illness or depression. Clearly, depression is the biggest demon which is swiping away the essence of life from the lives of millions of people, more so with the teenagers and senior citizens. It sure is a mental agony and it becomes hard to cope with, and the worst is that the majority of people choose to remain silent and avoid treatment, which becomes a life long struggle and a draining experience. Depression could start with minor mood swings to loss of concentration, loss of appetite and gets worst to a point of suicide.

Depression is like a worn-out unwanted companion that constantly clings, a burden, they take time and effort as there is no quick and easy fix, but it’s well worth it in mind. Here’s how you can keep the mood fluctuations under control. 

1) Eat a happy healthy diet, can help with mood, but there are some foods that can help with serotonin, the chemical in the brain that contributes to happy helping to raise those levels naturally like fish-oil, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, sour cherries, eggs. 

2) Steer clear of your coffee, yes caffeine will give you a quick boost in your mood, but it comes crashing down too. 

3) Drink green tea, it has an extremely important constituent: L-theanine. L-theanine works synergistically to boost mood in such a way that you don’t get the crash-effect besides reduces stress as well as boosts dopamine and the brain inhibitory transmitter GABA. You can also drink chamomile tea, since depression goes hand in hand with sleep problems, particular flavonoid in chamomile is what contributes to its relaxing properties.

4) Meditate, to help deal with mood and is an indispensable tool if you need to cope with depression, anxiety, OCD, or anything along those lines. Start small-maybe 2-3 minutes a day-and work your way up from there. 

5) Increase B-vitamins, B-12, play an important role in the brain, producing chemicals that impact mood and if you lack this your mind as well as your body is affected. You can either take supplements or add more B vitamin rich food to your diet, like Fish Mackerel, Cheese-Swiss, Shell fish cooked clams, Spinach, Bell peppers, Turkey.

6) More Magnesium, it is the 4th most abundant mineral in the body that is supplemented through diet, without it we wouldn’t produce energy, we couldn’t synthesize DNA or RNA, or regulate our heartbeats, and we wouldn’t keep the chemicals in our brain stable. Include roasted almonds or cashews, cooked black beans, banana, boiled spinach, soymilk.

7) Exercise, it is fundamental to mood. A 30 minute jog every day, even just a fifteen minute walk through the park can do wonders. Exercise releases endorphins in the brain, and endorphins are what make us feel good and happy. 

8) Load up on pumpkin seeds, contain healthy fats and magnesium, both of which can help lighten your mood. They also contain L-tryptophan, an amino acid that is involved in the production of serotonin.

9) Try acupuncture, helps with pain, and helps with depression and anxiety as well. When the needle enters your skin at one of the 400 body points used by acupuncturists, your body responds by releasing endorphins. This makes you feel calm, happy, and relaxed, and feeling lasts long after the session is over.

10) Use light therapy, especially if you suffer from seasonal affective disorder for instance your mood is affected by winter days that have limited sun. Light therapy works to elevate mood by activating the brains circadian pacemaker which regulates sleep cycles.

Doing Away Depression

Women are more prone to depression and live longer with it or sometimes their entire life in depression, primarily the loss of a partner, whether by death, divorce or separation, was a main contributing factor. People with milder depression have mood swings and mood disorders and are facing many problems in several facets of their life.  The life of clinically depressed people can really have serious health issues such as heart diseases or cancer however it is also found that diabetes causes symptoms that look like depression. You can feel tired or anxious due to high or low blood sugar. Low blood sugar levels can also lead to hunger and eating too much, feeling of constant fatigue, lethargy or poor sleep. It can also be in the form of physical aches and pains which is not because of any obvious reason. There can be chest pain, muscles ache, trembling or hot flashes. It is also found that normally the hormone like serotonin appears to strengthen the communication between the brain cells but during depression it fails to do so, so it is now considered that the ability of serotonin can be increased by diet which can help in this case. 

Due to depression people do not just lack concentration but also face difficulty in remembering details and making decisions. Serotonin hormone which is secreted from brain can further be assisted by good diet and diet that helps in keeping good moods and strengthens the digestive system.  It is advised to eat under the guidance of wellness coach, dietitian and nutritionist who can help you to efface depression or to keep it under control through diet.

Sheela Seharawat, Dietician from Diet Clinic tells us how to fight depression naturally, ‘We know a long list of foods that contain Omega 3 fatty acids and study says that it reduces the symptoms by 50%. It is a good relief that out brain is made-up of fat and in there 20% of which is Omega3s. And our brain has neurotransmitters that get influenced by foods. They are the messengers and control mood, energy levels, appetite and several other functions in our body. Our diet must have fat, protein, carbohydrates as sugar as fat and sugar combination increases the serotonin levels – which boost brain’s neurotransmitter. Study shows that our brains consume over 20 % of all nutrients and oxygen that we consume. Eat fresh fruits and veggies and plenty of omega 3s and keep yourself busy in positive things like reading, exercise, yoga and take proper long hours of sleep and never think anything negative.

Yes, our body is a complex design but it fully works on what we eat. Our digestive process where 95% of serotonin – a neurotransmitter produced which is responsible for our regulation if sleep, appetite, mediate moods and inhibit pain, and this serotonin hormone has high influence of our good bacteria which are in our intestinal microbiome. They protect the lining of intestine and make a barrier against toxins and bad bacterial. They improve the absorption of nutrients and from there nutrition directly reaches from gut to the brain. Remember – Everyone born alone but healthy person can bring everyone together. Allow your diet to care your health so you can care freely about other necessities of life. A wonderful life begins with wonderful heart and brain and your food only connect them well.  Health suddenly has become big concern only because people don’t exercise their mind right.’

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