We are over-scheduled, the economy is bad, and the news is depressing. So, why bother eating well? No wonder Americans are depressed.
The pharmaceutical industry is a 650 + Billion industry. Approximately 1/5 of Americans are taking some sort of anti-depressant. Doctors and psychiatrists routinely prescribe these drugs without considering the patient’s nutritional deficiencies. These powerful drugs deplete nutrients (especially B vitamins), which worsen depression and further the dependence on prescription drugs. Prescription drugs cause an array of serious side effects, including death.
The SAD (Standard American Diet) is high in refined foods, sugars, and poor quality fats. These nutritional deficiencies contribute to chemical imbalances, like anemia and hypothyroidism, which can lead to anxiety, insomnia—and depression.
So, what are the major nutrients are necessary for optimal mental health?
- Vitamin B-12 plays a role in red blood cell formation, brain function energy metabolism and DNA synthesis. When our bowel flora is healthy, we are able to produce our own B Vitamins.
- Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is an antioxidant necessary for combating disease, colds and used for improving cellular activity in the body. Proponents of using vitamin C for depression report that individuals with an autoimmune disease or lower immunity due to colds and flu require supplementation. Environmental stress can exacerbate the illness and compromise the body’s ability to recover from illness.
- Vitamin D is necessary for structural and mental health. The body can synthesize its own by getting 15 minutes of direct sunlight on a daily basis. During winter, it is more difficult to produce, and should be obtained by the diet.
Zinc and Magnesium are necessary for sexual health, and vitality, as well as mental health.
EFA’s (Essential fatty acids) are part of every cell membrane, and if those membranes aren’t functioning well, then neither is your brain. Since they can oxidize in your body, they should be taken along with other antioxidants, like vitamin E.
Amino acids are proteins, and are the building blocks of neurotransmitters, including serotonin.
You can obtain all these nutrients from dark leafy vegetables, pesticide-free local fruits, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, spring butter, wild or grass-fed meat, wild caught fish, and free-range organic eggs. A nutrient dense, whole foods diet will provide the body what it needs to support the mind. Positive affirmations, such as prayer or meditation and daily exercise like yoga or walking, are also fundamental to living a happy, balanced life.
People should talk to their doctors before reducing or weaning from depression medication.