Food is more than sustenance. Eating well feeds your body, soul, and brain. In fact, what you eat can significantly affect your mental health, and even decrease depression, researchers advise. The reality is though, no matter how clean you eat, nutrient deficient soil, pollution and imported food have resulted in a nationwide shortage of nutrients.
So how can you ensure that your brain is fed?
The following nutrients have been proven potent in reducing depressive symptoms in clinical trials, and are our favourites for nurturing both mind and mood.
- Omega 3 for a happier mind. Nations who eat more fish than others tend to be less depressed, and it’s no coincidence. Omega 3 (found in oily fish) is thought to affect the brain positively due to its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to interact with mood related molecules in the brain. The two key fatty acids responsible for these mechanisms are DHA (docosaheaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). DHA also has antioxidant effects, helping reduce oxidative stress.
- Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. One study has proven curcumin to be almost as effective as antidepressants in treating depression, and when used simultaneously, the results were significant. Almost 78% of people taking both curcumin and antidepressants showed a reduction in depressive symptoms, compared with 65% of those taking only the antidepressants.
- Zinc is responsible for over 300 enzyme reactions in the body, many of which act as antioxidants. Combating oxidative stress isn’t the only reason it’s one of the most powerful tools for reducing depressive symptoms though. It’s also essential for creating neurotransmitters, the building blocks of the mind.
- B vitamins are also responsible for building neurotransmitters which regulate motor control, mood and stress levels. They also help ensure the brain has enough energy to function properly. B vitamins support the nervous system and oxygen transfer from red blood cells to other cells, helping lift and maintain mood.
- Vitamin D is essential for our minds. Our bodies can produce enough of this when exposed to enough sunlight. But due to pollution, sunscreen and other modern issues, many of us are left deficient. Those with mood disorders are also more likely to suffer from a shortage of this crucial vitamin. Studies have shown that supplementing with a high-quality vitamin D product significantly decreases depressive symptoms.
- Probiotics are proven to reduce depressive symptoms in those with mild to moderate depression. This makes sense given that our gut is our second brain: mental health conditions and dysfunction in the gut microbiome are linked.
Will supplements cure my depression?
Supplements can play an impactful role in supporting your mind and mood, but they are not a cure all. Furthermore, they are not intended as a substitute for prescribed medicines.
Instead, they can help to address nutrient deficiencies that are often found to contribute to mental health challenges. Through on-site testing, our naturopaths can pinpoint deficiencies and recommend potent and pure supplements. We believe it’s important to take the guesswork out of treatment.
To address every factor that may be affecting you and tailored to your unique symptoms, our naturopaths may also recommend dietary and lifestyle tweaks, nutritional and herbal support, talking therapy, or energy-based treatments like acupuncture or craniosacral therapy.
If you are struggling with depression, please get in touch. We can help you move forward on your path to recovery.