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Nutrition & Depression

How Foods can lift your Moods….

Many of us experience a lift in mood in the Summer months.  We benefit from the longer days and any spells of good Summer weather.  It becomes more inviting to get out & about, take a breath of fresh air, go for a walk, run, cycle or swim. Lighter & healthier food choices in our diet appeal more.  The range of summer fruits hit the stores, the BBQ gets cranked up and salads replace spuds on our plates.  Good nutrition becomes easier to achieve in our diets.  This all contributes to lifting our mood and helping our general well being.

But did you realise just how much nutrition and diet can affect depression in our lives?  Research has revealed that deficiencies in certain nutrients have been found in depression sufferers and that simply correcting those deficiencies can help relieve symptoms in some.

Nutrition Tips:

Take a look at our basic nutrition tips. Following these can help improve your overall health and wellbeing but may also reduce your risk of nutrition problems aggravating your depression.

  • Choose less junk, refined high sugar foods; they raise depression risk.
  • Try to choose more wholegrain cereals, nuts, beans, lentils, fruit & vegetables.
  • Eat regular meals throughout the day to maintain constant blood sugar.  Avoid that afternoon slump.
  • Include protein at each meal to ensure a continuous supply of the amino acid tryptophan to the brain.
  • Eat a wide variety of foods to keep your diet interesting and to ensure you obtain all the vitamins and minerals you need.
  • Include oily fish in your diet – if you can’t, consider a supplement containing 1-2 grams of omega 3 EPA daily. Oily fish like Mackerel are great on the BBQ so dump the sausages in favour of a healthier option.  Omega 3 EPA can even improve response to antidepressants.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Maintain adequate fluid intake, particularly in the sun.
  • Limit your alcohol intake.
  • Get tested for nutritional deficiencies and use prescribed supplements where necessary.
  • Consider a probiotic to keep the gut healthy.
  • Get checked out for coeliac disease. Ireland has one of the highest rates worldwide and it can cause depressive symptoms.

 

Medical Advice: 

Do not undertake any radical change to diet or increase in vitamin or mineral supplements without consultation with your Doctor or Medical Practitioner.  General healthy eating tips can work alongside your doctor’s recommendations regarding medication or talk therapy. 

So take steps to ensure you make the most of the wonderful summer foods. 

It’s official! You’ll feel the better for it.