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A Food Arsenal to Battle Depression
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A Food Arsenal to Battle Depression

Carbohydrates are a formidable weapon against depression. Carbohydrates are connected to serotonin, a mood enhancing chemical in the brain. As in any war, decisions should be made wisely. Fruits, legumes, vegetables and whole grains are good choices; however, sugar should be very limited.

Vegans should be particularly conscious of protein consumption. Healthy proteins such as fava beans, almonds, chick peas, lima beans and soy products are also necessary. These foods contain an amino acid, known as tyrosine. Consuming tyrosine triggers a release of dopamine in the body. Dark chocolate contains phenylalanine, which is linked to increased activity and has been found to temporarily relieve depression in some patients. Too much dark chocolate can harm the liver and an over consumption of almonds can be the culprit of headaches. Both almonds and dark chocolate should be consumed in small quantities due to the high caloric content.

The brain is at risk for free radical damage. Foods rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E contain anti-oxidants, which are strong opponents against free radicals. Broccoli, carrots, collards, spinach and sweet potatoes are a good source of beta-carotene. Blueberries, broccoli, peppers, strawberries and tomatoes contain vitamin C. Vitamin E can be found in nuts, seeds and wheat germ. Apples contain quercetin a mighty warring anti-oxidant.

Folate and B vitamins are important for mental health. Fruits, legumes, dark leafy green vegetables and nuts are to the body what a sword is to a knight. These foods are high in folate. A vegan diet should contain a good variety of foods such as rice, beans, bananas, avocados, peanuts, citrus fruits and some mushrooms that are high in B vitamins, excluding B-12. B-12 is required for cell division and blood formation, which affect the brain. B-12 deficiency can lead to anemia and nerve damage. Nutritional yeast is a good vegan source for B-12. Some cereal products are fortified with B-12.

Beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains are rich in selenium, which is also necessary to stabilize moods. Be careful when supplementing the diet with selenium in pharmaceutical form, as it is possible to overdose on selenium. A deficit of ometa-3 fatty acids have also be shown to contribute to depression. Flax seed and nuts are a good source for omega-3 fatty acids. Seasonal affective disorder is associated with low levels of vitamin D. Sunlight, torula yeast, fortified rice milk and fortified cereal products are all good sources of vitamin D.

A well-rounded diet can slay a multitude of health issues. Depression is a real health issue. Be sure to discuss your diet with a counselor, psychologist or nutritionist when battling depression. To battle the formidable opponent, depression use all of the weapons at your disposal.

Royalty-free photo courtesy of 123rf.com.

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Leave a Comment

  1. Jalenagraham
    Jalenagraham
    great advice.
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    1. Carolyn
      Carolyn
      Thanks for the comment and vote!
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  2. Charlotte
    regular exercise as well as diet are crucial
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    1. Carolyn
      Carolyn
      Yes, Charlotte, exercise has a positive mental affect on us. Thanks for the vote and comment!
      Log in to reply.
      1. Veganara
        Veganara
        Great article Carolyn, vote no 5. I am a depressive, and suffer from it quite badly in the winter months, so this is advice that is very welcome to me. Very well researched and expressed.
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        1. Carolyn
          Carolyn
          Thanks Veganara! I hope that it helps!
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  3. Sheila Ray
    EXCELLENT!!! voted
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    1. Carolyn
      Carolyn
      Thanks Sheila!
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  4. bluscarlett
    Carolyn, I hope this is true. So many deal with depression but don't want to take meds. There is more i want ot say but not here. be blessed and keep writing.
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    1. Carolyn
      Carolyn
      Thanks so much for the vote and comment!
      Log in to reply.
  5. Virtually Homemade
    Virtually Homemade
    great info!
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    1. Carolyn
      Carolyn
      Thank Virtually Homemade for the vote and comment!
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  6. dianabart
    dianabart
    Awesome blog. I for one know personally how important researching 'what to eat' as a vegan can be- keeping a balance in all food choices is important for all people to do. -Thanks for your awesome insight and research. Keep posting.. Voted and shared!
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    1. Carolyn
      Carolyn
      Thanks Diana! Your input is appreciated!
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  7. Jam
    Jam
    Some great advice you have shared with us
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    1. Carolyn
      Carolyn
      Thanks Jam! So good to hear from you! Hope to see you posting soon!
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  8. dianabart
    dianabart
    I start my nutritional courses in July, would you mind if I share this article and base some of my lectures from it? I will give you due credit! :)
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  9. BuddhasDelight
    BuddhasDelight
    great article, carolyn. you have so much great information, a lot of which is new to me. i think it is wonderful and important to bring this topic up... it amazes me still how little we as a culture relate mood to food! what we eat has, as you know, a very direct effect on how we feel and function. thank you for this one. :)
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  10. Teresa
    Teresa
    Just read this one and voted on it. Also, I wrote down the items for our health reasons around here and will be getting them when I can. Thanks for the tips and advice.
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