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by LifePharm Inc.

Feeling Depressed? Your Diet Could Be To Blame

depressed man in office

Your brain is always working for you. It takes care of your thoughts, movement, breathing, heart and physical senses. It is even working while you sleep. This means your brain requires a constant supply of nutritional fuel. The type of fuel you select can make all the difference in how you feel and perform mentally. Simply put, what you eat directly affects the structure and function of your brain and, ultimately, your mood.

What Can You Do About Depression?

Depression is one of the world's most common causes of disease burden (strain on family and society),  and is estimated to affect 350 million people worldwide. Depression is associated with decreased productivity, poor psychosocial outcomes, and decreased quality of life and well-being.

Eating high-quality foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourishes the brain and protect it from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress refers to the free radicals that are produced as “waste” by-products given off when the body uses oxygen. These are very damaging, cause inflammation and rapid aging throughout the body, and are responsible for the progression of many diseases.

How Your Diet Can Affect Your Brain

Unfortunately, just like an expensive car, your brain can be damaged if you ingest anything other than premium fuel. If substances from “low-premium” fuel (such as what you get from processed or refined foods) get to the brain, it has little ability to get rid of them. Diets high in refined sugars, for example, are harmful to the brain. In addition to worsening your body’s regulation of insulin, they also promote inflammation and oxidative stress. Multiple studies have found a correlation between a diet high in refined sugars and impaired brain function — and even a worsening of symptoms of mood disorders, such as depression.

A study was conducted whereby over 1,000 women ages 20-90 years of age answered food questionnaires and a 12-item general health questionnaire. The results indicated a direct association that women who consumed more of the “Western” type diet had a much higher incidence of mental disorders including depression and anxiety.

What Is a “Western” Diet?

The typical Western diet is defined by nutritionists and includes: 

  • Fried foods
  • Breaded foods
  • White bread
  • Pasta
  • Baked Goods
  • White Potatoes
  • High fructose juices
  • Candy 
  • Alcoholic beverages

Can Probiotics Support Happy Mood?

Studies have shown that when people took probiotics (supplements containing good bacteria), their anxiety levels, perception of stress, and mental outlook improved, as compared to people that did not take probiotics.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter (hormone) that helps regulate sleep and appetite, mediates moods, and inhibits pain. It is often called the “happy hormone.” About 95 percent of your serotonin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract by good bacteria in your gut. Your gastrointestinal tract is lined with a hundred million nerve cells called neurons. Good bacteria protects the lining of your intestines, providing a strong barrier against toxins and “bad” bacteria. Some toxins produced by bad bacteria seep into the blood stream, travel to the brain, and cause toxic reactions leading to forgetfulness and anxiety.

How Your Diet Affect Your Mood

Other studies have compared people who consume the traditional Mediterranean or Japanese diets to those consuming a typical Western diet. The risk of depression is 25 to 35 percent higher in people who eat a typical Western diet compared to those who eat diets resembling the Japanese or Mediterranean diets. Scientists believe higher-quality diets rich in vegetables, fruits, unprocessed grains, fish, and seafood— containing only small amounts of lean meats and dairy—account for improved mood levels. They are also void of processed and refined foods and sugars (staples of the Western diet).

Finally, many unprocessed foods are fermented and act as a natural probiotic. Unfortunately, they are often limited in our diets which is why supplements can be a useful and readily available alternative. Taking a good probiotic and prebiotic supplement and adding them to a healthy diet may directly affect your mood, attitude, social life, and productivity!

What You Can Do To Eliminate Depression

Depression is a complicated issue that can be caused by a lot of different reason. However, the following diet tips will positively affect your gut, which could lead to a more positive mood and happiness. 

  • Pay attention to how different foods make you feel after eating.
  • Experiment with new food varieties like Mediterranean, Japanese, or the South Beach Diet.
  • Try a diet for two to three weeks that avoids all processed foods, starch, and sugar.
  • Add fermented foods to your meals like kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, pickles, or kombucha.
  • Eliminate dairy or grains from your diet if you encounter bothersome digestion.

Improve You Gut Health With DIGESTIVE+++

DIGESTIVE+++ is composed of probiotics, prebiotics, and a full range of digestive enzymes. The probiotic colonizes your GI tract with one of the strongest and most well-researched good microbes available to support gut health and—now we know—brain health! Many people have reported that they feel so much better both physically and emotionally after switching to a more balanced diet and introducing DIGESTIVE+++ into their dietary routine.

OMEGA+++ Can Ease Your Depression

OMEGA+++ is composed of Omega 3,6, and 9. A large scientific evaluation (called a meta-analysis) of over 20 separate clinical studies using Omega-3 to treat major depressive disorders in a variety of age groups showed Omega-3s were effective in supporting elevated moods and less severe depression symptoms.