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According to recent studies, depression affects more than 15 million people per year in the US. Depression is a kind of mental illness that affects people irrespective of their sex, age, race, and income level. In other words, depression is a mental condition in which a person’s gloominess or sadness prevent them from doing their everyday activities. This is a whole body ailment and it influences one’s moods, thoughts, and overall health. In fact, it affects the way one thinks about themselves as well as others and the way they do their routine activities such as eating and sleeping.
Depending upon the severity and symptoms of depression, it can be categorized into three levels: major depression – otherwise known as unipolar depression, which is the most common form of
depression; dysthymia – a chronic type of depression; and Bipolar disorder, which is accompanied by irritable moods as well as periods of increased energy.
Loneliness, financial problems, stressful life experiences, family problems, death of loved ones, family history of depression, chronic pain or health problems such as diabetes, alcohol / drug abuse, and early childhood trauma are some of the reported causes for depression. Apart from these, the food you intake also may contribute to depression. For instance, lack of vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12, in addition to essentials including Biotin, Folic acid, and Pantothenic acid in your diet can lead to depression.
Depression and Diet
As mentioned above, one’s diet can contribute to depression. In other words, the type of food that is consumed affects one’s propensity to develop depression. For instance, if you have an increased tendency to consume items such as fatty meats, chips, pastries, toffees, chocolates, and starches, then you have increased chances for depression. These foods contain in them a high content of salt, sugar, fat, and starch, which in turn is stored by your body as fat, thereby affecting your overall health. As a result, it may also bring about both chemical and physiological changes in your brain structure. In short, it is evident that the intake of junk and fatty foods can increase the chances for depression. However, you can recover from depression or reduce the risk of depression through the intake of a diet with the right proportion of vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, and antioxidants such as beta carotenes and Vitamin C as well as E.
Anti Depression Foods
Mentioned below are among the food items that serve as excellent anti depressants:
Fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids – Intake of fish or food items rich in Omega-3 fatty acid helps to improve the level of EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) fatty acid, whose lack of is regarded as one of the major causes for depression. Salmon, anchovies, tuna, and sardines are some of the fish that contain a high content of Omega-3. Food items such as walnuts, pumpkin seeds and flax seeds are also rich in Omega-3. Further, Omega-3 is not only beneficial to assist in overcoming depression but also to normalize cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Spinach and Navy Beans – These serve as excellent anti depression foods, especially for those who are deficient in Vitamin B.
Oatmeal – Since it a low-glycemic food and rich in nutrients such as Vitamin B1 and B6, Pantothenic acid, and folic acid, oatmeal is regarded as a great way to combat depression, as its intake aids to reduce mood swings. It is even better if you consume it with soy milk.
Brown Rice – As in the case of oatmeal, brown rice is a low glycemic food and contains in it all essential nutrients. Its consumption is a great way to fight depression as well as its symptoms.
Broccoli and Cauliflower – High blood sugar can be a cause for depression. Eating vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower promotes stabilized blood sugar levels, which, in turn, can aid in overcoming depression.
Cabbage - A rich source of nutrients such as folic acid and Vitamin C, cabbage is not only beneficial to recover from depression but also to reduce the chances of developing a number of such ailments as heart disease and several types of cancers.
Fruits rich in antioxidants – Fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and kiwi are a treasure trove of nutrients such as antioxidants, and their consumption may help to rise above depression.
In addition, food items such as Brewer's Yeast, with a high content of Vitamins B1, B2 and B3; raw cocoa; Brazil nuts; and vitamin supplements are also regarded for being able to assist in reducing the symptoms associated with depression. Above all, it is important to drink plenty of water to improve one’s mood as well as one’s overall bodily functions. Equally important to overcome depression is to limit the intake of certain foods including white bread and rice, sodas, French fries, cookies and candies and prepackaged meals.
Please note: Depression is a serious illness and no change in diet should be undertaken without the consultation of your medical doctor or care provider.