June 24, 2017

Natural Cures for Depression

It has been estimated that almost 20 million people live with depression on some level. Depression generally causes a perpetual feeling of sadness and a loss of interest in everything – yourself, life, school, work, family, friends, etc.  Depression can make you lose your appetite and interfere with your sleep.

Major depression should be treated by a doctor or other professional with prescription antidepressant medication or other therapies. If you believe you have mild or moderate depression, the following natural cures may help you to alleviate your depression without the need to seek professional help.

Change in Diet

The food we eat has a major impact on the way we feel. Serotonin is a chemical that our body produces naturally and it is responsible for our moods, good or bad, depending on whether we have high or low levels of it in our body. Some foods high in serotonin that you should eat on a regular, if not daily, basis include: bananas, kiwi, pineapple, plantains, plums and tomatoes. Those with moderate levels of serotonin that you should incorporate into your diet as well include: avocado, black olives, broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, dates, eggplant, figs, grapefruit, honeydew melon, nuts and legumes, whole grains, and spinach.

Consuming several cups of green tea has also been shown to reduce the symptoms of depression. The following foods should be avoided, as they can make your mood worse or actually increase your anxiety and depression: coffee, alcohol, foods high in fats (including fast food) and sugary foods.

Try to eat as “clean” as possible (organic foods), since the chemicals, additives and preservatives that are found in so much of the food we eat today are difficult for our body to digest and can make us feel sluggish, as well as affect our moods.

Regular Exercise

Endorphins are another chemical that our body produces naturally and they make a significant difference with our moods. Exercise increases the number of endorphins and helps circulate them throughout the body. They not only elevate your mood, but they can also minimize physical pain, lower your blood pressure and boost your immunity. All of these things help you feel better physically, which is a huge factor in feeling better mentally. Not to mention that exercise keeps you in shape and helps you look good, which can boost your self-esteem. Walking for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, can help release enough endorphins to elevate your mood – more vigorous exercise, for longer periods of time, will just increase your endorphins that much more!

Herbal Remedies

It is estimated that 80% of people around the world use herbal medicine in some way to treat their health.

Pharmaceutical drugs prescribed for depression have a plethora of harmful, painful, or irritating side effects and can actually make depression worse for a lot of patients.

Herbal remedies are natural so they are easier for our body to handle and they can have the same positive effects as those you attempt to achieve from prescription drugs.  To see the six best herbs for depression, click here.  To see a list of the most popular vitamins and supplements for depression, click here.

Meditation

Meditation has been proven to stimulate your body and brain by improving your focus and your mood, boosting your immune system, increasing your visual attention and your memory, and many more positive changes. Just 10 to 20 minutes each day is all that is necessary for significant results. You can meditate anywhere at any time, just be sure you are alone, undisturbed, and can concentrate on your breathing while clearing all thoughts from your mind. This will put you in a relaxed and calm state and give you a feeling of well being.

Light Therapy

Serotonin production is activated in the morning by sunlight. Depression has been found in larger numbers in people who do not get enough sunlight, especially those that live in geographic areas that have a lot of rainy days and few days filled with sunshine. Many people do not get enough sunlight in the winter months when the sun shines less each day. Depression is often magnified in these months. A simple walk outside each morning in the bright morning sunlight can have a dramatic influence on your mood for the entire day. (Combine your light therapy and regular exercise remedies to get double the serotonin production and double your chances of helping your depression).

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is thought to help ease the symptoms of depression by stimulating your circulation, releasing neurotransmitters, and activating the release of endorphins which help ease physical pain. Acupuncture restores balance to the flow of energy throughout your body.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is based on the belief that your physical health and your emotional well-being are interconnected. Massages help relax and calm you, which are believed to help clear your mind and release stressors.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Fish Oil Pills are said to help with symptoms of depression because omega-3 fatty acids are needed for regular brain function. Countries like Japan and Taiwan have a 10 times lower depression rate and one reason is thought to be because of all the oily fish they eat.

Folic Acid (Folate)

People with depression are often found to have low levels of folic acid (folate). If you do not eat enough beans, fruit, fortified grains or green leafy vegetables, a folic acid or folate supplement may help you with your depression.

Magnesium

Depressed people are also often found to have low magnesium levels. Your body needs magnesium to produce serotonin. If you do not consume enough whole grains, green vegetables, nuts or legumes, you could benefit from taking a magnesium supplement.

St. John’s Wort and SAMe

Both of these supplements are used in Europe to treat depression (although not approved by the FDA here).  It is important to speak with a medical health care provider to ensure these supplements do not interfere with other medications a person may be taking.

If your depression is severe or these remedies don’t help

It is very important for depression to be identified and treated by a doctor or other health care professional. Sometimes it can be a symptom of other medical conditions that need to be identified and addressed. It is important to treat depression before it become severe, as it can take over your life, provoke you to take dangerous risks, lead to self-destructive behavior, and worst of all, lead to thoughts of or attempts of suicide.

If you seem to be down in the dumps more often than not or have lost interest in aspects of life that always interested you before and your relationships with others are suffering, you could be suffering from depression.  Only you can make the decision about whether or not your depression seems serious enough to consult with a medical professional. If you are in doubt, you should seek help.

If you believe your depression is mild or moderate, you may be able to treat your depression with natural remedies, such as those discussed above. If you try many of the above treatments and you do not find that your depression is improving then you should see a doctor immediately for an effective treatment program.

 

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