Depression can be debilitating, which is why many people choose to deal with it by using medication. Unfortunately, the side effects of treating depression this way can often be almost as bad as the depression itself.
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The good news is that the human body is able to produce a brain chemical called serotonin which is able to uplift your mood and banish depression. It is also able to produce enough of this chemical naturally, but in order to do so it requires adequate nutrients.
This means that no matter what the cause of depression is, it can be treated in a more natural manner if you know the how.
Eat The Right Foods To Produce Enough Serotonin
The food that we eat plays a vital role in how our bodies function, so it is no surprise that eating healthily can increase serotonin production. Dark green leafy vegetables, such as kale and spinach in particular, are rich in the right types of nutrients required by the brain to make serotonin.
Other foods that can provide a big boost include free-range chicken, bananas, almonds, cashews, and whole rolled oats.
To avoid toxins and increase the nutritional value of these foods, it is always better to choose the organic versions. Increasing the amount of foods in your diet that are fresh, unrefined and unprocessed will give your brain all the nutrients that it needs.
In turn, it will be better able to increase serotonin production and help with mood regulation.
Avoid Foods That Can Spoil Your Mood
Just like healthy foods can help to fight back against depression, so can the wrong foods have a negative impact on your mood. Dietary components such as artificial sweeteners, alcohol, caffeine and sugar can all contribute towards depression as well as mood swings and anxiety.
If possible, try to avoid these components or at the very least reduce your intake, and you will notice an improvement to your health and well-being.
Having an imbalance in your blood sugar levels can also contribute negatively to your mood, so avoid foods that are high in refined starches.
These include sugar, white bread, pizza and pasta, as they tend to have the biggest impact. As a substitute, choose vegetables, fruit, brown rice, quinoa and other foods that contain high-quality carbohydrates.
Combining these with proteins will allow you to better regulate your blood sugar levels.
Get Some Herbal Help
Depression is not a modern problem, and herbal remedies were commonly used in the past as a defense against it. For example, ginkgo, which is known to be a memory booster, is just as effective for combating depression.
Even a spice such as turmeric is a popular remedy for dealing with depression because of its active ingredient, curcumin. Both serotonin and dopamine levels can be increased naturally with curcumin, and studies have found it to be safer and more natural than other medication.
Exercise The Blues Away
When we engage in physical exertion, such as exercising, it triggers the release of brain chemicals that can improve our mood. This feeling of joy can be increased even more if you are taking part in an exercise that you really enjoy.
Remember to start off easy if your body is not used to exercising, but aim for at least two or three sessions on a weekly basis. Exercise triggers the release of chemicals called endorphins in the body, which not only reduces pain perception but also generates a positive feeling.
In addition to all the health benefits of exercising, such as increased energy levels, lower blood pressure, and improved strength, it can really help to combat depression.
Don’t Shun The Sun
When feeling down and depressed the great outdoors might not look that appealing, but being out and about in the sunlight can actually help to banish the blues. This is because our bodies require daily exposure to natural sunlight in order for it to produce vitamin D.
This vitamin is vital for the production of serotonin and also helps to regulate hormones, both of which play a huge role in how we feel. Avoid the harsh rays of the sun between 11am and 2pm, but try to get at least 15 minutes of exposure to the sun daily.
Improve Your Mood With Essential Oils
Stress is a big factor in depression, so a relaxing bath combined with essential oils can work wonders. Opt for essential oils such as lavender, rose or ylang-ylang which can be mixed with your bathwater for a calming effect.
Using lavender oil in your bathwater just before bed is especially effective as it is known to contribute towards deeper, more restful sleep. This can result in waking up in a better mood, as lack of sleep or even poor quality sleep often detracts significantly from your mood.
Anyone who has woken up moody and groggy after a restless night can attest to how important sleep is for your overall well-being.
Watch Out For Chronic Stress
The devastating effects of chronic stress should not be underestimated when it comes to dealing with depression. Not only does it place a serious strain on the nutrient stores of the body, but it can even reduce how much serotonin is being circulated as well.
This results in a lack of nutrients for serotonin production and a negative influence on your mood. The effects are even more severe for stress that is related to social or emotional factors.
A nutrient-dense diet is great for lowering chronic stress, but deep breathing exercises and healthier lifestyle habits are also recommended. Of course, one of the most efficient ways to deal with chronic stress is to not only identify, but also deal with the underlying cause.
Take Care Of Your Gut
Because up to 90% of serotonin production occurs in the gut, it is vital that you take care of your digestive health. If your digestive health is not optimal it can have a big effect on your emotional well-being. Good digestive health also makes it easier to absorb all the necessary nutrients that are required for serotonin production.
Herbal remedies can be very useful in this regard, but make sure to discuss it with a natural health practitioner who will then be able to recommend a personalized program for you to follow.
Use Meditation To Get In Touch With Yourself Again
Meditation is a great way to reduce stress-related health problems and psychological stress. It has been found to reduce cortisol levels, which is a stress hormone that can also contribute towards depression.
At the same time, meditation can also increase serotonin levels as well as gamma-aminobutyric acid, which is a neurotransmitter that causes the body to relax.
Those who suffer from depression will also know that negative self-talk can reinforce this mood disorder, but meditation allows you to get in touch with yourself again and quiets the mind. If you are new to meditation you can start small with only a couple of minutes a day, and then continue from there.