Everyone's mood fluctuates, their experience of it is unique and depends on many factors. This includes external factors, such as the environment or situation a person is in and internal factors such as fluctuations in hormones, neurotransmitters, and the availability of nutrients.
Therefore, no single mechanism can explain all the clinical manifestations of depression. But in recent years, research has found modifiable factors to support brain health and mood to fight depression.
Nutritional psychiatry is a new area of research investigating how certain nutrients can benefit mental health conditions. When you're feeling depressed, it's hard to find the motivation, appetite or energy to eat. Malnutrition is associated with depression and loneliness, especially among the elderly.
In addition, eating a diet high in sugar and only a limited variety of foods contributes to depressive symptoms. Poor nutritional choices, reduced daily functioning, and emotional changes can all exacerbate one another, producing a vicious cycle.
Regular exercise can be very beneficial, especially if it is done outdoors in a green environment. Even a mindful stroll through the park or by the river is considered beneficial.
You may benefit from receiving support from your doctor, as well as from psychologists, therapists, and nutritionists. It is important to consider nutrition in relation to depression.
It is primarily an important building block, macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats and micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals that the body needs to make neurotransmitters and hormones responsible for a balanced mood, come from food. Here are some nutrients that can affect depression in a person, summarized from The Star page, Thursday, October 6, 2022.
Low mood is associated with a deficiency of one or more B vitamins. Depression in children and adolescents is also associated with low levels of vitamin B12 and vitamin D, as well as increased levels of homocysteine.
Foods rich in B vitamins include whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables. Leafy green vegetables, beans, lentils, and whole grains contain folic acid (vitamin B9), while meat, fish, eggs and dairy products contain vitamin B12.
Multivitamins with optimal levels of B vitamins or certain B vitamins can also help if you're not getting enough in your diet. Any new supplements should always be discussed with your doctor before starting to take them.
Scientists synthesize about 90 percent of vitamin D through the action of sunlight on the skin. Depression and panic disorder can be caused by a vitamin D deficiency, especially if you don't get enough sunlight.
The risk of vitamin D deficiency increases with age because your skin is less able to make it, dark skin because dark skinned people need six times more sunlight to produce vitamin D than light skinned people. Vitamin D can be stored and inaccessible in fat tissue and avoid the sun, for example people who always cover their entire body or use sunscreen.
Unlike some other substances, omega-3 fatty acids cannot be produced by the human body, although they are essential for brain function and cell growth. Therefore, even though people are on a diet, it is still important to get it.
Among the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet are oily fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, pilchards, herring and trout. There is evidence that the more fish a country's population consumes, the lower the incidence of depression.
EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are the two most important omega-3 fatty acids. For vegans and vegetarians, seaweed and algae are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids because they contain DHA and EPA.
For example, chlorella and spirulina can be mixed with water or added to smoothies. Nori is another type of seaweed that is common in Japanese cuisine. It is also possible to take EPA and DHA supplements.
Chromium is essential for maintaining stable blood sugar levels as it is necessary for insulin to function. Insulin is the hormone responsible for removing glucose from the blood.
Broccoli, turkey, liver, whole grains, seafood, and green beans are good sources of chromium. It is also possible to take chromium picolinate, which is a supplemental form of chromium. However, this should be done under the supervision of a doctor, especially if you are also taking diabetes medications such as metformin.
Proteins are built from amino acids. Among the 20 amino acids, nine of them are so essential that the body cannot produce them and one must obtain them from food, namely nutrients such as histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.
Energy is made from tryptophan, as are serotonin and melatonin, which are neurotransmitters. There are many protein-rich foods that contain tryptophan, such as meat, poultry (especially turkey), fish, beans, eggs, lentils, nuts and seeds.
At every meal, the body needs a portion of protein to perform many vital functions. When we are under a lot of stress, both psychologically and physically, tryptophan can be converted into quinolinic acid instead of serotonin.
In some individuals, quinolinic acid has been found to improve symptoms of depression. Depression was associated with lower tryptophan levels and higher quinolinic acid levels in some groups.
Magnesium deficiency is linked to a variety of systemic ailments, including depression and anxiety. This is because magnesium plays an important role in various body functions. It is the second most frequently deficient mineral after zinc.
High sugar levels and chronic stress also deplete magnesium levels. Symptoms of depression seem to decrease with a higher intake of dietary magnesium.
Meanwhile, you should reduce some foods that affect mood. Moreover, research reveals that people who are highly sensitive to gluten can experience mood symptoms related to gluten consumption, even without a diagnosis of celiac disease.
A gluten elimination diet may still be appropriate in such cases. However this diet should be done under supervision and with the guidance of a qualified nutritionist. In addition, you may have a food intolerance test to determine if you have elevated levels of antibodies to certain foods in your blood.