5 Ways to Fight Depression
How to Fight Depression Naturally
Depression is a sensitive and delicate subject. Our current system of treating depression is not yielding great results. Although many pharmaceutical drugs can have an immediate impact, nobody has depression caused by a deficiency of a synthetic, man-made chemical. Drugs block the natural chemical messengers, or neurotransmitters of body, and alter natural function of our system.
Unfortunately, we have created a society today where a psychiatrist can talk to a person, run no tests or check for any nutritional imbalances whatsoever, and prescribe potentially dangerous drugs with various negative side effects. Many anti-depressants have suicidal thoughts and depression plainly listed as a side-effect of the medication. There are potentially better ways, the ways of God and nutrition.
What is Depression?
Depression is commonly linked to a deficiency in neurotransmitter function. We have D- Phenylalanine (from protein) that is converted into L-Tyrosine, then dopamine and finally nor- epinephrine. This conversion process is critical and we will look at foods important to this proper conversion. It is important to understand that a healthy liver, healthy adrenal glands and a healthy thyroid are all important components in this process as well. We must also understand the importance of serotonin as well.
Depression = Disconnect!
From my experience, most people dealing with depression are disconnected. Of course, many people have traumatic events occur in their lives and deal with short-term intense bouts of depression. I am talking more about long-term chronic depression. Disconnecting is a defense mechanism. We don’t want depression to become our identity. This disconnect can be from many different areas of life. Here are the areas where people experience disconnect: God, nature, exercise, food and people
5 Ways to Fight Depression & Get Connected
- Discover God: Don’t let depression become your identity, or who you are. You have a much higher purpose in life, every single one of us! People are looking for the “right pill,” the “right person,” or the “right circumstances,” to overcome their depression. We need to look up! The world will disappoint us. Material possessions disappoint us, people disappoint us and many circumstances in our lives disappoint us. God lets you know that you were created, you are loved and you are here for a purpose on this earth. Jesus Christ has restored the hearts of millions of people lost in depression and He can do the same for you. God wants to be discovered and will restore you in the process! “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Disconnect from God causes the following:
- No hope in God, no purpose in life, no relationship with God, feelings of separation from God and others.
- Spiritual dullness from agreement with depressive thoughts, sin, rebellion, and disobedience. This leads into believing you are not good enough for God, but He truly wants you to turn back to Him.
- Being unthankful instead of thankful.
- Focusing on yourself and not others.
- Unforgiveness. Carrying your own burdens instead of giving them to Jesus.
- Connect with People: We need fellowship. We need community. We need loving friends and family members. We need support. Get plugged into a community of people who can support and help you in the midst of your depression. Look for a counselor or therapist that you can meet with regularly that will help you walk through it. Find a way to serve and help other people.
- Connect with Nature: God is found in nature. There is a reason we feel amazing when we are surrounded by nature. Even getting a dog or cat can connect us this way, or plants around the house. This is where getting sunshine comes in as well! Vitamin D (The sunshine vitamin) is helpful for overcoming depression. Better to get sunshine than to take a pill.“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” Romans 1:20
- Connect with Food: The food you eat affects how you think, how you feel and how you look. What if we were to eat the way our body was designed and eat the food originally given to us by our Creator? What if the nutrient void, processed, chemical filled junk food and comfort foods of the Standard American Diet (SAD) is a key component to feelings of depression? The most damaging food, and unfortunately most common comfort food, in America today is processed sugar. This poisonous drug robs your body of process minerals, shuts down your organs, glands and neurotransmitter function and can put anyone on a fast track for depression. We need genuine replacement parts to BUILD these chemical messengers. Don’t let food be your drug, but let it be your medicine.
- Food #1: Vitamin C Camu Camu berries are now the 2nd most widely used plant for depression today, mainly for its high vitamin C content. Vitamin C is also found in Amla berries, Acerola Cherries and other fruits. It is important to buy WHOLE FOOD vitamin C and NOT ascorbic acid, which is either cheap and poor quality, or synthetic. Vitamin C is necessary for the conversion of D-phenylalanine into L-Tyrosine.
- Food #2: Mucuna Prurient Mucuna Prurient is an herb that is high in L-Dopa and therefore helps with the production of dopamine in the system. Try it by starting slowly and working your way. If it doesn’t work for you, try another approach.
- Food #3: St. John’s Wort St John’s Wort is incredibly powerful in mild to moderate cases of depression, but has not been shown effective for severe depression. It is not to be taken if you are taking anti-depressants for concern from possible interactions. This plant is great for serotonin uptake in the brain and is definitely worth a try.
- Food #4: Ginkgo Biloba This plant improves neurotransmitter function in brain and brings oxygen rich blood to the brain. It is possibly the oldest seed plant in the world. Biloba means “two lobed” and we have two lobes to our brain. It helps the human body to adapt to stress, also known as an adaptogenic herb. This tree grows around urban environments, these trees thrive in poor environments. These trees thrive in poor environments.
- Food #5: Holy Basil Holy Basil has been used for thousands of years to bring people into a prayer/meditative state of mind. It is a natural wound healer and anti-inflammatory as well. It works by stopping the excess production of cortisol from the adrenal glands which antagonizes stress and causes weight gain. It balances the body,reduces stress and anxiety and increases overall feelings of well-being. A wonderful plant to be tried for mild depression.
- Food #6: Healthy Fats Omega 3 fatty acids are found in fish oil, krill oil, and flaxseed oil and arecritical for numerous functions in the body. Related specifically to depression, Omega 3’s are critical for the nervous system, cell membrane function, neurotransmitter function, brain function and the production of hormones. Your brain is comprised of saturated fat wand water. Therefore, coconut oil, and butter are also important hormone precursors. Start cooking with coconut oil and avoid rancid vegetable oils!
- Food #7: Cashews Cashews are shown in studies to work as well as anti-depressants. The reason is from their high levels of tryptophan, an important amino acid for mood and sleep. 3.5 ounces of RAW cashews, not roasted provides 470mg of tryptophan. Pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds (tahini also) are very high sources as well. Chamomile flowers are the highest herbal source of tryptophan, so drink your chamomile tea!
- Food #8: Chocolate Yes I said it. But I am talking about 100% raw cacao. It contains over 300 know mood boosting nutrients, including the bliss chemical anandamide and serotonin. The best mood dessert ever is very easy. Blend raw cacao, raw coconut oil and honey!
- Food #9: Fermented Foods 80% of serotonin is in your gut. Your gut is nicknamed your 2nd brain. Healthy living flora and bacteria are critical for proper function of mood, hormones and your immune system. Making fermented veggies is actually quite easy.
- Food #10: Raw & Living Foods Avoid processed fats, sugars, anything white and rancid vegetable oils. Raw, living foods provide life!
- Food #11: B-12 B-12 deficiency has been linked to depression, and is found in organ meats and dairy products. Also found in Spirulina and Chlorella, or you can supplement B-12
- Foods to Avoid: Processed sugar, white flour, white rice and rancid oils. Rancid oils include all of your vegetable oils like corn, soy, canola, safflower oil. They promote inflammation in the body. This of course includes fried foods, trans fats, hydrogenated oils, etc.
- Connect with Exercise: The human body was created to MOVE. We used to move as a part of daily life and there are incredible benefits to moving. Exercise stimulates neurotransmitters. Exercise works best specifically for depression when it is in a group setting, done regularly and you have accountability. So get going. Make it simple, like walking in nature, using the treadmill at the gym, or join a group fitness class.