According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. The number of people affected continues to rise, with an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015. That means over 300 million people are living with depression around the world!
Nutrition plays an important role in our mental health, and is considered to be a significant factor in the prevalence of depression in Canada. We have an increasing reliance on processed and packaged food that certainly help with convenience, but are not full of the vitamins and minerals we need to functional optimally. Plus our fresh fruits, vegetables, pulses, beans, and animal proteins are not as nutrient dense as they used to be, due to our industrialized farming practices.
Today we’re going to discuss nutritional changes that will be supportive to those with depression, and will be preventative for everyone else.
Start right now!
There are some things that are very easy to get started with. They include:
One of the biggest things to consider is the quality of fats you consume. Every single cell in your body requires fats to function properly, and the brain is 60% fat. Consuming the right kinds of fats makes a big difference to your mental health.
In Canada we consume too much of the inflammatory omega 6 fatty acids, and not enough of the anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids that our brains love. Not only is omega 6 inflammatory, but it blocks the absorption of omega 3s into our cells. As a result, it’s important to not only increase our consumption of omega 3s, but decrease our omega 6s as well. Here are some tips on how to do that:
Managing blood sugar
We all love candy, baked goods, and snacks like chips. Unfortunately, processed carbohydrates like these can cause a roller coaster of blood sugar levels. This leads to fluctuating energy levels, and can affect hormone and neurotransmitter production. It comes as no surprise that a high sugar diet is connected to a higher risk of depression. Here are some simple ways you can cut back on processed carbohydrates:
Cutting back on the processed foods you eat can make a big difference, and by learning about food quality you can do even more. We recommend buying the best quality food you can afford:
Our digestive tracts need to be full of beneficial bacteria for us to be healthy. This bacteria is called the “microbiome”, and it is essential to our mental health. While there are many facets to supporting your beneficial bacteria, here are some food-based suggestions:
There’s no better time to get started
Our tips today have covered the first nutritional steps you can take to lower inflammation and improve your mental health. There will be more refinement that can be done that’s unique to you, your digestion, allergies, food intolerances, and lifestyle. We recommend working with a Nutritionist or Naturopath to help you do that.
We want to provide nothing but the highest quality information and advice for our followers to improve their health, which is why at Truehope Canada, we're happy to say our writer is a Certified Life Coach and Registered Holistic Nutritionist.