If you have been battling some depression or anxiety lately and don’t know why–unless you are suicidal, before you jump on the “I must have a chemical imbalance” bandwagon and ask your doctor for a prescription of Prozac, check yourself in the this area. It could be a possible cause that you can address right away.
How’s Your Nutrition?
There are a wealth of resources, scientifically backed that shows the mind and body connection and the significant role nutrition plays. Food is our medicine. It is. If you are not eating right, and especially if you have not eaten right in years, the accumulative effects can wreak havoc on your gut, your immune system, your hormones, your brain (including your neurotransmitters), and organs….the list is endless.
If we were to look at the health issues that are plaguing this country, depression and anxiety is one of them. How is it that in a country where wealth is abundant, where most people can live the American dream if they put in the effort, that we are the most depressed and anxious people in the world? This is a complex issue with many layers, but one of the most common among people I have met is nutrition. I go into this in more depth and also cover other layers in another blog.
The American diet is filled with food that causes inflammation. Studies now show that inflammation is the root cause of DISEASE. It is your bodies natural reaction to damage in its attempt to heal itself. But when we are inflamed day after day for years….the consequences pile up so high it can be difficult for many to pinpoint the cause. It wasn’t until I reduced intake of inflammatory foods that I started seeing symptoms I assumed were unrelated or just normal because I had them so long now for the first time, disappear.
Here’s the Gyst:
- If you eat inflammatory foods like white flour and cow dairy among others, you need to detox from this. inflammation prevents our gut from making serotonin. Serotonin is used in our brain to feel happy and calm. Less serotonin causes anxiety and depression.
- If you eat empty calories–snacky foods you buy in the dry sections of the grocery store and not around the perimeter (fruits, vegetables, herbs, meat, and whole grains) you are depriving your body of essential minerals and vitamins it needs to make your body function as God intended.
- If you have taken antibiotics in your life and have not gone on a long-term recovery and maintenance plan of multi-strain flora to replenish your gut with healthy bacteria, you are only exasperating the problems that the first two cause. We digest the food in our intestines through the help of healthy bacteria that live in our gut. This helps us break it down into usable parts for our body to function, it helps reduce any inflammation caused by the bad food, and helps our body eliminate toxins and used hormones.
The research and explanation about how all of this works is abundant. If you are a reader or want to learn more, I highly suggest any one of these books.
There are also a variety of supplements to jump-start your healing and supplement your healthy nutritional intake as you transition into a life of well-being and healthy eating. Check out my blog where I go into much more depth on diet and supplements here.
I have battled clinical depression and anxiety most of my life. I tried counseling. I tried prescription anti-depressants, but as soon as I was off, it was back again. It was not until the last 10 years have I been able to finally uncover the role my diet and nutrition played in these feelings. When I eat right and take the supplements I need to fill in those gaps, I don’t struggle with it. When I start cheating again and getting out of my good habits, those feelings come back. Some people are just more susceptible to these things. It can run in families too. My dad’s side of the family is filled with anxiety and gut issues. And the more people I talk to, the more I see it everywhere. Test my theory out. Give it 8 weeks. And I’d recommend this while on meds as well if you are on them with the intention to one day be free from those drugs and be healed.
Then please comment below and let me know what you discover. It takes 6 weeks for meds to start working. With diet and supplements you should start seeing changes within 2 weeks.
If you are already taking meds, try this while staying on the meds and then talk with your doctor about trying to wean slowly off to see what happens. Only do this if your trusted doctor approves. Or get a second opinion. There are some levels of depression that you need to really be careful with. Meds may be necessary for some as you work on complete healing through diet and other possible factors.
I’ll be writing a future blog on those other factors like environment and stress. Until then, happy eating.
Like this article? Check more articles by Theresa on the topic of depression and gut health at her new blog www.MamaGuts.com