How to eat to fight depression

If you thought bad food affected only your body, then think again. Because eating processed foods,junk foods, fried or sugary stuff and refined foods could affect your mental health apart from causing havoc to one’s physical body. Well it is true. The rising rates of depression could be partly blamed on the high consumption of processed foods in the present era. This should be of concern because of how much children these days turn to such foods from biscuits to fast foods, from fried snacks to soft drinks.

Whole foods:

Researchers at University College, London, found a 58% risk for depression in people who mainly ate processed foods as compared with people who ate whole foods like lots of fruits, vegetables, fish and unprocessed whole grains, legumes and unhomogenised milk. Whole foods are those that are not processed or refined. Whole foods also do not have additives like preservatives or salt, sugar or fat added to it. Much like how our ancestors ate their foods – fresh and wholesome.

Antioxidants:

During the normal functioning of the body free radicals are produced that damage the cells of the body, causing aging, several chronic illnesses and possibly depression. The brain is particularly affected. A chronic diet of junk foods and processed foods that are scarce in essential nutrients encourages the destruction of molecules in the body. We can to a great level reduce the destructiveness of free radicals by eating foods high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are Vitamins A, E and C.

Best sources of these are citrus fruits and its juices, yellow, orange and dark green vegetables and fruits including tomatoes, herbs, nuts and seeds, wheat germ, vegetable oils.

Vitamin B Deficiency:

it is suggested that low levels of B complex vitamins particularly B 12, folate and B 6 may be linked to mood changes and depression. So make sure you get enough of these B vitamins by including fish, lean meat and poultry, milk and eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and legumes. If you are a vegetarian or elderly, perhaps B12 supplementation will be needed.

Vitamin D deficiency:

There is growing evidence that those who have deficiency of Vitamin D seem to be at risk for depression especially during winter seasons and that, symptoms of mild depression may be lessened with Vitamin D shots.

Eating to fight depression means to:

Cook most foods at home including snacks avoid or minimise eating out at fast food joints, or buying ready made processed snacks make whole foods part of daily eating and avoid refined flours cook very little fried and sugary foods and instead eat nuts, fruits and vegetables generously choose low fat dairy foods, lean meat supplement Vitamins D and B12 if one is a vegetarian or over 50 years of age.

Parvathy R Krishnan

The author is a trained Nutrition & Dietetics expert with over 20 years’ of experience in hospitals like Vijaya Hospital in Chennai and the Armed Forces Hospital and New Mowasat Hospitals in Kuwait. She is presently a member of the Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India. Parvathy blogs at http://premadiet.blogspot.in/

More by this author:

Dieting tips for those at work
How to eat rice and lose weight
Image: Thinkstockphotos.com

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