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Beat Depression with These Good Mood Foods

Aug 17, 2007
From time to time, we all suffer from stress and anxiety, even depression. It may be work related, family problems or financial concerns. The stress caused by these worries can lead to health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, stroke and even obesity. Then we start to stress over our health problems. It's a vicious circle.

All antidepressants work by manipulating the brain's use of serotonin, the chemical largely responsible for your mood. A study published in the British Medical Journal shows that the use of antidepressants can increase the risk of upper gastrointestinal bleeding for people over 65. And the newer types of antidepressants, called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors {SSRIs} are the worst offenders. These drugs can also cause nausea, headache, dry mouth, insomnia, sexual dysfunction and tremors.


These prescription drugs are NOT the only option for dealing with stress and depression. Studies have found that people respond just as well to natural therapies without the toxic side effects. According to Dr Michael Rosenbaum, author of "Energy For Life", a B complex supplement, along with vitamin C can make a big difference. He also recommends St John's Wort. Beware however of drug interactions with this herb. It can be effective for mild depression, but should NEVER be taken if you are on warfarin therapy or taking SSRIs. As with all changes in diet, you should FIRST discuss it with your family doctor.



For a long time we've known that fish is healthy for you, but American nutritionist Joseph Hibbeln, claims that a fish diet can dramatically improve your state of mind, even cure depression. Mr Hibbeln, from the US National Institutes of Health, says the Omega 3 fats in fish influence our state of mind by altering one of our brain's key chemical messengers, serotonin. Lack of it is thought to be the cause of depression. His studies are confirmed by research at Harvard Medical School. Deep sea fish such as tuna, swordfish and salmon are 3
sources of Omega 3 fatty acids.


Other sources of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that helps to improve our sense of wellbeing, include: vitamin D { cod liver oil and sunshine}, sunflower seeds, bananas, turkey, avocados, mangoes, broccoli, almonds, vitamin B6 and the mineral magnesium. Camomile is a herb rich in magnesium and chamomile tea can be effective as a bedtime "relaxant". These "mood foods" are required to convert the amino acid tryptophan to serotonin.


Ginseng is a tonic herb renowned for its benefit in helping the body "adapt" to stress. As a balancer of body energies, it helps to relax and relieve stress as well as promote stamina.


Studies with those suffering mild and major depression have shown low blood concentrations of the B vitamin nutrient folate. Sources of folate include: liver, asparagus, lentils, chick peas, beans, spinach and other leafy green vegetables.


One of the most exciting breakthroughs in natural approaches to treating depression is SAMe. Naturally produced in the human body, it has largest concentrations in the liver, followed by the adrenal glands, heart, kidneys, lungs and brain. Healthy people naturally produce sufficient SAMe, but a deficiency in the blood can result in depression.

SAMe helps increase the blood levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, encouraging the brain cells to be more responsive to these "feel good" chemicals. This helps promote focus, concentration, calmness and mood elevation. It is also a liver tonic and may assist with arthritis pain. When taken as a supplement, make sure it includes the key nutrients vitamin B12 and folic acid to optimize natural SAMe production.

Never start a new treatment before consulting your doctor, especially if you are currently taking medication. The information published in this article is not intended as a substitute for personal medical advice from your physician or other qualified health-care practitioner. It is for information purposes only.
About the Author
Graeme Lanham is a freelance writer and health/fitness researcher. His new book "Your Life Fitness" includes current research studies on fitness and anti-aging. Discover more about the secrets to beating depression and receive a FREE subscription to his regular subscribers only newsletter at:
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