Mental health is something we pay least attention to. While physical illnesses are apparent and we seek immediate help, mental illnesses are unnoticeable where we usually misinterpret depression for sadness. But do you know that over 300 million people suffer from depression globally and India witnesses more suicides than any other country in the world? The shocking part is that many people are oblivious to the fact that they are victims of depression.
As mental health is taboo in our country, most people fail to recognize depression as an illness and are reluctant to seek professional help. Our unhealthy lifestyle and food habits have contributed to depression and other mental illnesses that are disrupting our physical health and day to day activities.
Your physical and mental health is a reflection of what you eat. Lack of essential nutrients can cause inflammation in the brain and mess with the levels of serotonin, which causes depression. Therefore, eating right improves the function of the brain and help in overcoming depression.
Brown rice is made of complex carbs. Limited intake of carbs reduces the secretion of serotonin – which acts as a mood stabiliser. Lack of serotonin disrupts concentration, causes a drop in energy levels, mood swings, insomnia and anxiety in certain people. Including more complex carbs in your diet satisfies the brain, which in turn improves the mood and keeps you energetic throughout. Replace processed, white rice with brown rice that is sure to improve both mental as well as physical health.
Fishes contain omega-3 fatty acids. Several researches have concluded that omega-3 fatty acids boost the function of brain. People who consumed omega-3 regularly in their diets were more likely to overcome mental health issues like anxiety, insomnia, mood swings and depression. The anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids reduce the inflammation in the brain and improve your cognitive abilities. Fishes are low in cholesterol levels making them a heart-friendly choice. Enjoy wholesome benefits of fishes by opting for fattier ones like mackerel, tuna and wild salmon.
Having walnuts is the easiest way to improve your mood. Walnuts are easily available and tossing a handful of them in your mouth regularly is not difficult. Walnuts are a rich source of protein, vitamins and antioxidants that prevent cell damage. They are also a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that are instant mood elevators and improve overall health and function of the brain.
Radical damage has an effect on your mood and causes several mental ailments. Green tea is a rich source of antioxidants and amino acids. Antioxidants play a vital role in protecting your cells from radical damage and reversing cell damage. The amino acid theanine present in green tea is known to effectively fight depression and has calming properties that instantly alleviate stress, tension and anxiety. Sipping on a cup of green tea the first thing in the morning will keep you feeling good throughout the day.
Carrots are an excellent source of beta-carotene. Carotenoids not only give carrots their bright yellow colour, but also prevent cell damage. Regular consumption of carrots repairs cell damage and inflammation, thereby, enhancing the brain health. Several studies have proven that people who got their regular dose of carotenoids had no signs of depression. Therefore, include carrots and other bright veggies to your diet regularly.
Not only the sun, but eggs too are a rich source of vitamin D. Vitamin D plays a significant role in the production of vital hormones and secretion of dopamine and serotonin. Eggs prevent depression caused by hormonal and chemical imbalance when your body lacks vitamin D. Although it’s easy to get vitamin D during the summer by drowning in sun rays, having foods rich in vitamin D is equally important to fight depression.
Yogurt is loaded with probiotics that is great for maintaining a healthy gut. 90% of serotonin is manufactured in the gut. Regular consumption of yogurt improves the gut health that in turn regulates the production of serotonin. Yogurt is also a rich source of vitamin D and contains peptides that induce a feeling of comfort and relaxation.
Although including these foods in your diet regularly will improve the function of the brain and fight depression, it is important for you to seek professional help. Remember depression is an illness and requires immediate treatment.