Though millions of people are told by their primary care physicians that they might need anti-depressants to combat feelings of depression and anxiety, new research suggests that merely changing your diet and taking some great herbal supplements can replace many medications which are commonly prescribed for the same ailments.
A surprising new study has also found that in addition to the millions who are depressed, doctors are even prescribing anti-depressants for those who suffering from other ailments. You could say that the cost of treating depression with pharmaceutical drugs has gotten way out of control. Worldwide, we spend more than $12 billion annually and the numbers have been rising in recent years. This is especially shocking considering that a simple, inexpensive remedy for depression exists – food, and herbs.
The strange thing is, when we put the right food into our bodies, and we receive the nutrition we need, taking pharmaceutical drugs becomes completely unnecessary. This remedy doesn’t work like a magic pill, though. It won’t take effect overnight, but it will also work a lot faster than you might imagine.
The following foods and natural, herbal supplements, for instance cure depression from the root cause:
Micronutrients (Vitamins and Minerals) – Vitamins C, D, and B, in particular, have an uncanny ability to combat anxiety and depression. Vitamin C, for instance, helps to boost levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain, important neurochemicals to keep us feeling less anxious and depressed. Ample Vitamin C intake can also help curb our sugar cravings – another thing that can cause us to feel anxious and depressed. Citrus fruits, goji berries, and leafy greens are full of Vitamin C.
Low Vitamin D levels have also been linked to higher levels of depression, while simply getting enough sunlight during waking hours (the sun’s light helps our bodies make Vitamin D) helps to keep us happy.
Vitamin B is essential to a good mood and positive outlook. Vitamins B2, B6, B9, and B12 all help to promote brain health, and normal metabolic functioning, while also keeping us bright and happy.
Quercertin – This nutrient has been shown to regulate mood and help boost our memories. Chronic stress can lead to an excess of Corticotropin-releasing hormone/factor (CRH, also called CRF). This hormone is released by the hypothalamus to cope with stress. Studies indicate that quercetin can stop excessive CRH production to take the edge off anxiety and depression. It also has an analgesic effect on our nerves, meaning it helps to calm them down. This great plant substance can be found in peppers, apples, leafy greens, berries, broccoli, and tomatoes.
Tryptophan – Foods like oats, nuts, seeds, legumes, cheese, fish, eggs, and turkey all contain tryptophan, and important seratonin precursor. Seratonin is a hormone responsible for many important tasks in the body, among them, regulating our mood. It acts as a mood stabilizer so we aren’t joyfully happy one second and suicidal the next. Tryptohpan consumption helps the body to produce serotonin, and can help guard against depression while helping us to live longer.
Chocolate – Just 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate every day can help to reduce the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol causes our adrenals to work too hard, and our fight-or-flight response to be on constantly. If our bodies produce cortisol constantly, we can end up being chronically depressed. Just a little chocolate, due to its many flavonoids and plant compounds, keeps cortisol in control, and depression at bay.
When looking for a chocolate bar, aim for one that is at least 75% cacao. Cacao is high on the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) scale, a measure of a food’s ability to fight free radicals. This is what makes the chocolate bar an anti-anxiety super-food.
Turmeric – How about a little orange rhizome instead of some Prozac to cure your woes? The Curcumins found in turmeric root are anti-inflammatory. This means that they won’t cause your brain to be stressed out, and inflamed. This single root used throughout Asian and India traditionally, also helps to boost serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine and balances cortisol (stress hormone) secretions. Around two tablespoons of turmeric every other day can help to regulate your mood and keep you from feeling overwhelmed and anxious.
Walnuts – These little nuts are full of Omega-3 fatty acids, an important monounsaturated fat that has been linked to regulating depression and anxiety. The mammalian brain (yes, we’re mammals, us people) is about 80 percent fat (lipids). There is a growing body of research showing that a proper Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acid balance helps our brains to work how they should – which means we don’t get depressed!
Rhodiola – Another great source of antioxidants and phytonutrients comes in the form of the herb Rhodiola. This plant has been used for centuries to cure depression. Some argue it works even better than pharmaceutical meds. It is one of the most scientifically documented herbal adaptogens, world-famous for helping to cure anxiety and depression. You can start by taking 100 mg daily and working up to a 400 mg dose to keep depression and anxiety from getting the best of you.
Brahmi (Bacopa Monnieri) – Another outstanding herb to fight depression is Brahmi, also known as water hyssop, is a powerful aphrodisiac, memory enhancing herb, and general tonic that has been used in both Ayurvedic and Chinese Traditional Medicine for thousands of years. This herb is also an adaptogen so it supports the entire body, but it also allows for deeper concentration, encourages a balanced emotional state, and keeps stress hormones from being over-produced by the body.
Though there are many more foods that support a healthy body, and therefore, a happy mind, these few mentioned can help you control mood swings, anxiety, and generalized depression often better than pharmaceutical medications. Which will you try to add to your regular diet?