depression and nutrition

Most of us are aware of how our diet affects our lives. While we understand the connection between nutrition and our physical needs, few of us are aware of the connection between nutrition and depression. Bad nutrition can play a key role in mood swings, long lasting depression and the severity of ‘the blues’.

Although each of us is affected by food differently, there are some general rules about nutrition and our moods. Refined carbohydrates-‘processed’ sugar-rich foods-provide immediate, temporary relief of hunger. Eating a candy bar or drinking the latest Starbucks creation often times makes us ‘feel good’, but too often provides the most temporary gains. Blood sugar levels spike…then fall drastically, leaving us to feel worse and have mood swings.  Complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains and vegetables, will supply a longer lasting and therefore much more ‘moderate’ effect on brain chemistry and our energy level, which in turn affects our overall mood.

Depression can also be linked to a lack of certain vitamins, especially B vitamins which greatly control nervous system function. For instance, B6 plays a large role in the brain’s production of serotonin and studies show that people who are depressed have low levels of B6 and serotonin. A good supplement of B-vitamins can greatly lessen a person’s chances of and severity of depression. Folic acid deficiency is also another widely seen culprit in mood swings and depression. And again, this can be rectified by diet and supplements; simply increasing one’s intake of leafy green vegetables will do wonders.

The axiom, ‘You Are What You Eat’ might be a simple statement, but really it’s true. As we know our bodies are affected by what we put in them, we now know what we think and how we feel is just as easily effected by our nutrition as any other function of our bodies.

Comments are closed.