Mental health problems are nothing to be ashamed of, and they’re something that many of us go through at least once during our lifetime. You shouldn’t need a trip to your therapist, or some anti-depressant pill every time depression or anxiety decides to pay you a visit. There are so many things that you can do at home to ease any anxiety or mild to moderate depression including changing the foods that you eat. This simple guide was constructed to help you discover how to treat depression and combat anxiety-attacks naturally by making some healthy changes to your day-to-day life.
What are the causes?
There are many possible causes of anxiety and depression, so it’s almost impossible to pinpoint one thing that could be triggering your episodes. Plus, each individual’s hormonal and gene structure differ to a degree, which makes using prescription pills and taking the proper dosage slightly unpredictable. Plus, with modern medicine having alternate side-effects, curing one problem could potentially cause another. That being said, some possible causes include past abuse/trauma, genetics, certain medications, and more.
Is depression a brain disorder?
Mental illness, in general, is known to be a brain disorder and there are many areas of the brain that are affected. Just how badly the brain is affected by these types of conditions does vary depending on the severity of your issues, and the fact that you may be receiving some form of treatment from your doctor or therapist.
What foods are good for depression and anxiety?
How you nourish your body can do a lot for what is going on inside your body especially in regards to brain health. This means that there are certain foods that are going to be very beneficial to treating depression and anxiety which can easily be found at your local supermarket or health store. An extensive list of nutrients and vitamins which will help your mental stability are listed below.
Omega 3 fatty acids, which are great for heart disease and lowering blood pressure, are known to be really effective for brain health. With this in mind, you should be consuming tuna and salmon in addition to nuts, plant oil, and eggs routinely. However, over consumption of Omega 3 can have adverse side-effects. So it’s recommended to not consume more than three grams of fishy oil on a daily basis without consulting your physician.
Research has shown that magnesium largely improves mental health conditions meaning that you should eat foods that are rich in magnesium. This includes things like almonds, pumpkin seeds, black beans, chickpeas, apples, carrots, chicken breast, lentils, cashews, and spinach. Also, magnesium helps the heart maintain a healthy rhythm, which can ease the anxious or jittery feeling associated with anxiety-attacks.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant and is known to boost your mood levels, which is why it is great for mental illness. Some foods with vitamin C that you should be incorporating into your diet include grapefruit, blueberries, kiwi, prunes, dark chocolate, pecan, raisin, beetroot, kale, and strawberries.
This is an essential mineral that we all need in our body and research has shown that for those with low levels of selenium, they are at higher risk of developing mental health conditions. Furthermore, it helps protect your body from damage caused by oxidative stress. You should be eating foods rich in selenium, which include turkey, shrimp, tuna, brazil nuts, and steak.
Serotonin is also known as the happy hormone. It sends signals between your nerve cells, and can be found in your digestive system. Boosting serotonin levels can easily be done by getting proper sleep, taking short walks in the sun, and eating healthy foods like pineapples, plantains, kiwi, bananas, and avocados.
Not only are probiotics beneficial for your digestive system, but they are also known to have a positive influence on mental stability, reduce depression, and promote a healthy heart. Some really good foods that contain high levels of probiotics include yogurt, kombucha, kefir, pickles, yogurt, and sauerkraut.
What foods to avoid?
Just like there are foods that are good to treat depression and anxiety, there are also foods that you should be avoiding.
- Sugary drinks or anything with processed sugar might give you that temporary high but the crash is even bigger and the excess sugar will leave you feeling sluggish and bloated.
- White bread, as tasty as it might be, can cause spikes in blood sugar levels which is bad for those with anxiety and similar conditions.
- You might trust coffee and energy drinks to get you through the day but the caffeine is not good for your mental health and will have adverse effects over time. However, black coffee with no sugar or cream has some health benefits when used in moderation, but energy drinks are a BIG No-No!
- Junk food like McDonald’s is really convenient at times but the saturated fats are doing nothing beneficial for your body. Getting into the habit of cooking healthy at home is going to do your mental health the world of good.
How a lifestyle change helps combat depression
When you change bad habits for good ones, you change all areas of your physical and mental well-being. This can make such a huge difference to your health from the inside out. Perhaps you are drinking excess alcohol, taking drugs, overeating and generally not taking care of yourself. This can cause mental disorders, even though you may be using some of these products to cope with life or feel better about your self; sadly, the fix is temporary, so it can be like a vicious cycle. If you feel like your brain health isn’t as good as it could be, you could definitely change things by making some very simple changes to your lifestyle.
Exercise for mental wellbeing
Exercise releases feel-good endorphins so while actually working out might feel like a chore at the time, you will be so glad you did it. Exercise is known to be a great natural cure for bipolar disorder and other conditions. You don’t need to join a gym, there are so many ways that you can get your body moving. Whether you go running, swimming, dancing or you even do workout DVDs from the comfort of your own home. The main goal is to get off the couch and do something.
Getting a good night sleep
Sleep is vital for mental health and if you don’t get at least 8 hours of sleep a night, try and get yourself into a routine until you’re able to achieve this. Go to bed at the same time every night, have a relaxation routine before you go to bed and you will notice such a difference in regards to how you feel during the day. Furthermore, try waking up at a set time each morning to help your body recognize a sleeping pattern.
The importance of positive thinking
If you are a pessimistic person, you are more likely to have a mental illness, but is it possible to teach yourself to become more positive? Of course it is, but it will take some discipline and effort on your part. Some steps that you could do to make yourself more positive is to start a journal, track your moods and try to notice a pattern in the spikes. Try meditation, yoga, long walks, reading more, watching positive/motivational videos, and simply making a list every morning of things you are grateful for. When you learn to change the way you think, the world will look so different from your eyes. You’ll start to view each day through your brand new prosperity lenses!
A structured daily routine
Having structure in your daily life is really beneficial and when you have everything more organized, you will feel happier in your on skin. Plan your days, make to-do lists and generally tackle your life in a more positive way for a healthier mental well-being. And remember, small changes make big impacts!