Nutrition and Diet
Depressive symptoms are exacerbated by nutritional deficiencies.
Nutritional deficiencies may include:
Complete blood test
As part of the evaluation of your condition, your doctor will order the following tests:
This is done so as to find out if there is an allergic reaction of the body or a mineral imbalance that can cause or aggravate the mental symptoms or any other physical problems that may cause these mental symptoms.
Avoid coffee, sugar, alcohol, dairy products.
Depression has been associated with a high intake of caffeine. If you drink four or more cups of caffeine in a given day, try substituting decaffeinated coffee and soft drinks.
Several studies have looked at caffeine intake and depression. In a study of healthy college students, moderate and high coffee drinkers scored higher on a depression scale than did low users. Other studies have shown that depressed patients tend to consume fairly high amounts of caffeine (more than 700 mg per day). In addition, the intake of caffeine has been linked with the degree of mental illness in psychiatric patients: the higher the intake, the more severe the depression.
Excess intake of refined sugar via sweet foods and/or from junk food can aggravate depression.
The combination of caffeine and refined sugar is even worse for depression than either substance consumed alone. Several studies have found an association between this combination and depression. In one study, twenty-one women and two men responded to an advertisement requesting volunteers "who feel depressed and don't know why, often feel tired even though they sleep a lot, are very moody, and generally seem to feel bad most of the time." The subjects were placed on a caffeine- and sucrose- free diet for one week. The subjects who reported substantial improvement (about sixty percent) were then challenged in a double-blind fashion lasting up to six days. They were given either caffeine and sucrose or Kool Aid and NutraSweet diet. About fifty percent of test subjects became depressed during the test period with caffeine and sucrose. In another similar study, seven of sixteen depressed patients were found to be depressed with the caffeine and sucrose diet, but became symptom-free when given a caffeine- and sucrose-free diet or a diet consisting of cellulose and NutraSweet.
If you are suffering from depression, stay clear of caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and dairy products if you are lactose-sensitive.
Fresh green vegetables, some fresh fruits, whole cereals and beans well cooked, unroasted seeds, seed sprouts, and soy protein, to supply whole protein to the body. Avoid any processed food, artificial colors, stimulant food, canned foods, smoking, dairy products, meats, eggs, and fish.
Avoid poultry in the beginning of the therapy. Avoid processed food that contains artificial coloring and preservatives.
Special attention should be paid to avoid foods that may cause allergic reaction, tiredness, heaviness, or any other bad feelings.
The amount of protein should be calculated according to the behavior of the patient. In hyperactivity, aggression, violence-yang conditions----about 0.5 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight. In hypoactivity, passive reactions, brain fatigue, depression-yin conditions-about 1.0 gram protein per kilogram of body weight. Include tofu, beans and seafood in the diet for adequate protein.
Suggested Meal Plan
Limit your total daily fat intake to 30 percent of your total calories. Try not to consume more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol a day, and limit servings of meat, fish, and fowl to three ounces each.
For breakfast, eat a Swiss muesli made with rolled oats, almonds, fresh grated apples, milk and natural, plain yogurt. Nutritional yeast is a good source of B vitamins. Sprinkle nutritional yeast flakes onto muesli and salads or stir into sauces, drinks and soups. If you suspect that your depression is caused by a deficiency of iodine, take watercress.
Pancakes, oatmeal, pasta, potatoes, and other foods loaded with complex carbohydrates can help a person keep depressed moods under control. Complex carbohydrates elevate brain levels of serotonin.
Try eating at least one meal a day that includes pasta primavera or a hearty potato soup that is very high in complex carbohydrates without lots of protein.
Seek out seafood. Eating tuna, salmon, and other fish loaded with omega-3's, a type of polyunsaturated fat, may help bolster your mood. The scientists postulate that low levels of omega-3's in your nervous system may increase your vulnerability to depression. So regular consumption of fish once or twice a week may prevent the depression. Lobster, crab, shrimp, and other shellfish also contain some omega-3's.
Next Topic: Vitamins and Minerals for Depression
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