Diet and Depression

diet and depressionHave you ever been depressed? Do you feel depressed more often than you think you should? One of the challenges with discussing depression is that it comes in different flavors. We all have “down” days but when these periods are prolonged, they are responsible for lost time at work, failed relationships, and the destruction of once happy lives.  In this article we will discuss how diet and depression go hand in hand!

Causes Of Depressive Disorder

Major depressive disorder is experienced by 16.1 million people (6.7% of the American population). Many things can cause depression and many experts agree it is often a combination of several factors. To be clear, if you are experiencing depression, you should seek professional help. As Doctor’s of Chiropractic, we desperately want our patients, our community, and the world to be healthy and happy.  Our philosophy has always been that all health problems come from three sources: physical trauma, emotional stress, and chemical toxicity.

Chemical Toxicity

Poor diet falls under the chemical toxicity category. Poor diet is the second highest risk factor in early death after smoking according to the Global Burden of Disease based at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. Therefore all health professionals including medical doctors, physical therapists, mental health doctors and therapists and doctors of chiropractic should be talking about it, teaching it and leading by example.

You may have heard your physiology, also known as body chemistry, always effects how you feel and act. What you put in your body always effects your physiology, whether you are aware of it or not. So, what it comes down to is how you eat effects how you feel and act. Keep in mind, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Can you fight depression with proper nutrition? A whole lot of experts think you can and should.

Fighting Depression With Nutrition

Felice Jacka, a professor of nutritional psychiatry at Australia’s Deakin University, found that women who ate a diet high in produce, meat, fish, and whole grains had lower odds of major depression and anxiety than others (Jacka, 2010). Recently, a meta-analysis of 21 studies found that “a dietary pattern characterized by high intakes of fruit, vegetables, whole grain, fish, olive oil, low-fat dairy and antioxidants and low intakes of animal foods was apparently associated with a decreased risk of depression.”

Laurel J. Cherian, an assistant professor of vascular neurology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and the lead author of a recent study that followed 964 elderly patients over six and a half years on the DASH diet had much lower rates of depression than a control group following the standard western diet. Most people who get through reading something like this come to the inevitable question: “so then, what do I eat”.

What To Eat

It is easy to get bogged down with all of the nutritional “rules” and programs out there. Don’t let this deluge of well-meaning information steal your motivation to make small but meaningful changes that can make huge a difference in how you feel emotionally. The big picture rules are to eat whole foods, mostly plant based and organic if possible. It isn’t just what is in these diets but what is not in them that count. Sugar, refined grains, fried foods, sodas and fruit juices are certain to affect your mood adversely.  Along with your weight, immune system, endocrine system, digestion, skin, etc.

What To Do If Struggling With Depression

If you are struggling with depression, in addition to seeking help from a mental health professional, get guidance from someone who is qualified and cares about you enough to guide your nutrition. At DHW we partner with a knowledgeable nutritionist and an astute Naturopathic Doctor for these cases.  For more information contact us.

If you are not currently struggling with depression, don’t wait to take control of your nutrition if you haven’t already! At DHW we advocate a nutritional plan like Life by Design. Seriously, If you haven’t checked this out, do it. We cover these principals and much more in our nutritional workshops. Remember, nutrition maters. None of us are exempt. With health anything is possible and without it, all is lost. Be healthy and be happy.