Depression, the most prevalent form of mental illness affects 3 out of 100 urban populations in India and 1 out of 3 cases are very severe. The World Health Organization in its new global health estimates on depression for 2015 said while over five crore Indians suffered from depression; over three crore others suffered from anxiety disorders.
According to WHO, the total number of people living with depression in the world is about 322 million and the total cases of depressive disorders in 2015 in India was 4.5% of population while total cases of anxiety disorders was 3% of the population in the same year period.
India accounted for the highest estimated number of suicides in the world in 2012, according to a WHO report published in 2014 which found that one person commits suicide every 40 seconds globally.
Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease, WHO said and asserted that more women are affected by depression than men.
Visiting a Psychiatrist is the first step to fight depression but if you just feel sad or anxious, here are different foods that can help elevate your mood and make you feel better.
Diet for depression
Antidepressants work by balancing chemicals in your brain called neurotransmitters that affect mood and emotions. These depression medicines can help improve your mood, help you sleep better, and increase your appetite and concentration. They also increase the levels of serotonin, which is a mood elevating hormone. Wholesome plant-based diets, high in fruit and vegetables contain high levels of human neurotransmitter serotonin which helps to elevate the mood levels in Human. Plant-based diets supply lower levels of arachidonic acid, and higher levels of antioxidants.
#1 Walnuts contain higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids and Omega -3 beyond doubt has been proved to be the best supplement for supporting the brain functions and reducing the signs of depression.
#2 Avocados are power foods and contain the healthy fats that your brain needs for smooth functioning. It also helps to accelerate the nerve functions and are power house of vitamins and minerals.
#3 Berries – blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are loaded with antioxidants and are proven to be beneficial in reducing depression scores. Like berries, apples are also high in antioxidants, which can help to prevent and repair oxidation damage and inflammation on the cellular level.
#4 Mushrooms are also good for mental health. They oppose insulin and thus control the blood sugar which also even out the mood. Mushrooms also promote healthy gut bacteria and which is important as our gut manufacture 80 to 90 percent of the critical neurotransmitter serotonin which prevents us from being insane.
#5 Onions contain high levels of anti-inflammatory anti-oxidants; flavonoids and helps in regulating the intestinal functions which in turn helps to regulate the brain functions.
#6 Studies show that depression is linked to folate deficiency. Tomatoes contain lots of folic acid and alpha-lipoic acid, both of which are good for fighting depression.
#7 Flaxseeds, hemp seeds, and chia seeds are especially good for elevating the mood because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Seeds not only provide the unique spectrum of disease fighting substances but also help to accelerate the nutrient absorption if eaten with vegetables.
Other helpful foods when fighting and preventing depression include turmeric, saffron, probiotics and a carbohydrate-rich meal every day.
Exercise to fight depression
Regular exercise helps ease depression in a number of ways, which may include: Releasing feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression (neurotransmitters, endorphins and endocannabinoids) and reducing immune system chemicals that can worsen depression.
When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine.
There are number of exercises that are proven to be helpful in managing depression effectively. Yoga, cardio, Pilates, Swimming, fun games or outdoor activities etc. are some of the most important ones.
Contributed by Dr.Manoj Kutteri
Dr Manoj has two decades of experience in the wellness industry in India and abroad, Doctorate in Health Sciences from the United States and carries extensive knowledge in the mind-body medicine, along with a forte in Naturopathy, Ayurveda, Nutrition, Acupuncture, Yoga & Physical culture and Psychology. Dr Manoj believes that the goal of mind-body techniques is to get the body and mind to relax and to reduce the levels of stress hormones in the body, so that your immune system is better able to fight the illness.