Depression often seems brought on by external events. Everything seems to lack significance. The whole world fails to bring you joy. Something seems to be missing. Nothing makes you happy. What can bring you true joy? What happened to make you so sad?
We tend to look for answers on the outside, often the reasons for depression lie on the inside.
Your constant sadness stems from a chemical imbalance in the brain. The body produces something called serotonin. Serotonin performs a number of different functions in the brain.
This includes helping you regulate your mood. Studies show a definite link between low serotonin and depression. High serotonin means an elevated mood.
Serotonin isn’t alone in helping elevate your mood. Other important neurochemicals for fighting depression include:
- Gamma-aminobutyric acid
Neurons work by sending an electrical signal across something called an axon. This electrical signal releases neurotransmitter molecules, which in turn bind with the receptor site. Then it sends a signal to the second neuron, which either gets sent further down the neural chain, or halts. The first neuron also gets a feedback signal, causing it to reuptake (or absorb) the excess neurochemicals back up into the cell.
The body affects the brain and the brain affects your mood. This means that maintaining a healthy diet is an important step towards keeping your brain in balance. In the following article, we will look at nine different foods.
These foods will keep your body balanced, your brain healthy, and your mood elevated without having to take drugs for depression.
Prescription anti-depressants work by increasing serotonin levels, usually by inhibiting the re-uptake of select neurotransmitters. Salmon does the same thing, but without the side-effects.
You’ll find more omega-3’s in organic salmon, so make sure to buy organic, rather than from the fish farm.
Spinach might not give you superhuman strength, but it can help improve your mood. Spinach contains folic acid. Folic acid deficiency is common in people suffering from depression.
Folic acid helps your brain build back up serotonin and dopamine, the chemicals that let you know you’re feeling fine and everything’s alright. Sometimes, psychiatrists use spinach to boost antidepressants. It also adds magnesium to your diet.
Bananas contain tryptophan. Tryptophan, as you probably know, makes you sleepy. Did you know why? Your brain converts tryptophan to 5HTP, which your brain turns into serotonin and melatonin. Bananas will help you regenerate more serotonin while you sleep, keeping your mood elevated.
Almonds work against depression, with the added bonus of preventing migraines. A study in 1968 showed that magnesium works to reverse depression, migraines, and irritable mood. Magnesium, moreover, is rather low in Americans. So, remember a handful of almonds a day keeps the sadness away!
Avocados or “alligator pears” provide another great source of omega-3’s, adding additional arms to your anti-depression arsenal. They also contain potassium, 485 mg per 100 grams of avocado. High potassium diets will work wonders to relieve depression and stress.
The recommended daily dose of potassium is 4,700 mg. So next time you’re sad, start mixing up some guacamole!
Chocolate doesn’t just make you happy because it tastes so good! Chocolate contains chemicals that cure depression. Just make sure it’s dark chocolate. Chocolate contains a drug called cocoa, which research shows will boost your serotonin and dopamine. It also reduces cortisol, which causes stress. 40 grams of chocolate a day should be sufficient. Read more about chocolate here.
7.) Green Tea
Green tea contains polyphenols. Polyphenols supply your brain with dopamine, helping your brain battle against depression. For thousand of years, green tea has served as a natural remedy against depression. Drinking it not only helps your body develop dopamine, but increases your body’s sensitivity to insulin. Insulin gives your body a steady supply of glucose. Glucose fuels your brain, bringing you the happiness you need.
The more green tea you drink, the happier you will feel. Studies show that people drinking as many as four cups a day are less likely to be depressed.
Asparagus also contains copious amounts of folic acid, just like spinach. This makes it ideal for fighting depression. These also add tryptophan, helping your brain generate serotonin to elevate your mood. Adding more asparagus to your diet will help you combat depression, making you more happy, relaxed, and stress free. It will also help you have better and healthier sleep, giving you the strength you need to recover your mood.
Blueberries provide your brain with antioxidants, reducing certain types of stress and helping you fight stress-induced depression. Likewise, blueberries encourage brain cell regeneration, which some believe might help battle depression.