In India, only 30 per cent of people are aware of the connection between nutrition and depression. While most of them can easily understand the connection between nutritional deficiencies and physical weakness, depression is still a taboo and thought of as strictly biochemical-based or emotionally-rooted. But, the reality is that nutrition plays a vital role to negate depression.
As per research, Vitamin D deficiency is linked to depression and some other chronic diseases. Vitamin D is needed for the body to absorb calcium, something that most people lack these days. Modern lifestyles are thought to be at least partly responsible for this, as hardly our skins get exposed to sunlight. Working long hours in offices with unnatural lighting, deskbound lifestyles, and even extreme use of sunscreen all contribute to Vitamin D deficiency.
On the other hand, low levels of B vitamins can also cause depression, irritability, and fatigue. In particular, deficiency of vitamins such as B6, B12 and Folate can cause anxiety and depression and have been linked to a wide range of mental and physical health problems. Cumulative ingestion of foods containing these essential nutrients can bring significant signs of progress for people suffering from depression. Vitamin B6 can be gained from foods like chicken, leafy green vegetables, bananas and seafood, while people usually can derive B12 from animal products such as poultry, meat and dairy products. Liver, citrus fruits, legumes, dark green leafy vegetables and yeast extract contain Folate. Vegetarians, vegans, and people on restrictive diets may need to take a Vitamin B complex supplement.
Deficiency in Iron is also one of the reasons for depression and anxiety among people. As per researches, an iron deficiency which is related to depression tends to be more prevalent in women rather than men. Almost 50% of women with pregnancies lack iron in their blood. Iron can be best gained from red meat, poultry and fish. For vegetarians, the best source of iron could be beans, pulses and fortified cereals.
Selenium also another mineral that contains potent antioxidant properties and is essential for mental health, healthy metabolism and healthy thyroid function. Lack of selenium may cause depression, persistent mood changes and negative thoughts. Brazil nuts, walnuts, chicken, fish and whole grains are the best source of Selenium. Enhancements are available, but they can react with some prescription medications, including birth control pills, corticosteroid, and medicines used to reduce cholesterol levels. Hence, it is always advisable to consult a doctor for proper nutritional food.
Then, there is Magnesium which is often known as the relaxation mineral, as it has a powerful influence on temper and mood. It is important for the appropriate working of almost every course in the body. However, up to half of all adults are thought to be deficient in this essential mineral, and this shortage of magnesium can lead to depression, anxiety, migraine and several other chronic health conditions. Magnesium can be gained from spinach, quinoa, banana, nuts, seeds, avocado, etc.
People often forget the most essential practice to cure depression is to have a proper diet which includes and a healthy proportion of all nutrients. Proper nutrition helps to control mental health and helps in faster recovery. While most people can get enough of these nutrients through diet or supplements, serious deficiencies may require medicinal treatment.