Depression. That feeling of emptiness. Unease. Wanting to sleep all the time. Experiencing a lack of purpose, or believing there isn’t much to life. Thinking that perhaps life is no longer worth it.
Around 300 million people worldwide experience depression. I am not talking about that feeling of sadness when something bad has happened. I’m talking about when someone experiences depressive symptoms every single day. That dark hole pulling you further and further into the chasm of hopelessness, and feeling like there is no way out.
And especially with everything going on in the world right now, people feel alone more than ever.
Now, I’m not talking magic mushrooms here. Although, there is some interesting research emerging…
However, all edible mushrooms contain a host of nutrients. Mushrooms are High in selenium and Vitamin D (when left exposed to the sun, the levels of Vitamin D increases!). They contain immune-modulating nutrients, acts as a prebiotic to maintain overall gut health where 80-90% of serotonin is manufactured, prevents plaque build-up, and lowers blood sugar levels to prevent spikes in mood.
They are also a rich source of antioxidants, B-vitamins, and the best dietary source of ergothioneine – a medicinal compound used to treat a range of disorders.
Look closely at a walnut cut in half. What does it look like to you?
Coincidently, the shape of a walnut resembles the shape (not size) of the human brain.
Walnuts are some of the richest sources of Omega-3 to feed the brain the nutrients it requires.
Walnuts are a rich source of ellagic acid, catechins, and phytic acid to aid in heart health, cancer prevention and brain function.
Omega-3 is required for every single cell in the body to do their job. And in most western diets, we tend to lack enough Omega-3.
Chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, and salmon are other sources rich in Omega-3.
Walnuts are also a great source of folic acid, copper, and even melatonin.
That saucy red ‘fruit’ that we all treat as a vegetable, in which the nutrient density is enhanced when cooked.
A rich source of Vitamin K to help reduce blood clotting and wound healing.
Tomatoes are most known for their high content of lycopene and beta-carotene.
They may also ease menopausal symptoms by potentially lowering serum TG levels.
Perhaps most importantly for those experiencing depression, tomatoes are high in folic acid which prevents excess homocysteine. Homocysteine is an amino acid useful for a range of bodily functions; however, when the levels of this amino acid are too high, it prevents adequate release of neurotransmitters, and is a sign you could be nutrient deficient.
Food High in Tryptophan
We cannot by-pass this all-important amino acid that is required for the synthesis of serotonin and melatonin. This vital amino acid is not produced in the body; therefore, we have to rely on dietary sources.
Some experts claim people actually consume above the recommended dose. However, with the rise of depression, and the lowered ability of producing enough serotonin, those that lack serotonin may benefit from a higher intake of tryptophan.
Turkey, eggs, fish, venison, free-range chicken, milk, nuts and seeds, and surprisingly – bananas are all great sources of tryptophan. And for some, taking a supplement may also be beneficial (consult with your doctor before taking any supplement).
These foods may assist in stabilizing the mood and reducing frequency and severity of depression by boosting melatonin. Melatonin is the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating sleep.
When you have a better night sleep, coping strategies are easier to implement, and severity of symptoms reduced.
These neurotransmitters participate in visual cognition, and may even reduce aggression by ensuring there is an adequate supply of serotonin.
There is no one way to prevent depression. Instead, it takes a range of methods to take control of your life, instead of depression taking control of you.