Depression and anxiety affect many of us, either sporadically or on a regular basis. Chronic depression requires the assistance of a health professional, but you can support a healthy your mood naturally by adding or increasing certain foods.
Niacin is vitamin B-3, one of the water-soluble B-complex vitamins. It is an essential vitamin required for processing fat in the body, lowering cholesterol levels, regulating blood sugar levels and stabilising mood. Chicken, fish, pork, beef, peanuts, mushrooms and peas all contain good levels of niacin.
Low levels of B12 can be a risk factor for depression, and it’s common in vegans and heavy drinkers. Alcohol naturally reduces your levels of B12 as it damages the cells in your stomach lining, reducing absorption of the B12 you ingest. Good sources of B12 are often animal-based foods and include snapper, prawns, algaes, sea plants and miso.
Tryptophan is the key ingredient in making serotonin (the happy hormone); without it, serotonin won’t be produced. It isn’t produced naturally in our bodies, but is found in good levels in bananas, turkey and chicken. Raw nuts and seeds are chock full of tryptophan, so by eating them regularly you can help your brain produce more serotonin. Typtophan also supports peaceful sleep.
Research shows people who eat a diet high in omega-3 essential fatty acids have lower rates of depression. You will find these nourishing fats in salmon, trout, herring, sardines, anchovies, mackerel, flaxseed and walnuts.
Lavender And Bergamot Essential Oils
Many citrus oils are acknowledged for their uplifting effects, but bergamot is particularly powerful. Rub some bergamont or lavender essential oil on your temples, neck, and wrists for a boost to your mood and a reduction in stress/anxiety. You may need to dilute it in a carrier oil, such as almond or coconut oil if you have sensitive skin. Other great ways to benefit is to have a warm bath with a few drops of lavender and bergamot oil, or spritz the blend on your pillow.
L-Theanine is a water-soluble amino acid. It’s found mainly in green tea and black tea. Studies have found that it acts directly on the brain, helping to reduce stress and anxiety. A typical cup of black tea contains about 25 mg of l-theanine and green tea about 8 mg.
Moderate exercise can actually prevent episodes of depression. Data regarding the positive mood effects of exercise says low levels of physical activity (walking and gardening for 20-30 minutes a day) can ward off depression in people of all age groups. It’s fascinatingly powerful stuff! Group nature walks are linked with significantly lower depression, less perceived stress and enhanced mental health and well-being, so get a group together and feel better en masse!
Just by being outside you’re helping to reduce your risk of vitamin D deficiency too which is also linked to depression. An average adult only needs 10 minutes a day of sun exposure to help maintain healthy vitamin D levels.