Saturday, October 11, 2008

Depression and Healing From Natural Food

Depression is real and it is experienced by everyone to some degree in their life. Some people do not admit sadness or guilt and instead they withdraw and hide from society. They may lose interest in things around them and become incapable of any pleasure. Things appear bleak and time passes slowly for them. They are typically angry and irritable and often try sleeping off their depression or doing little but sitting or lying around. Most people with depression can still function but do so at a lower capacity or slower pace.

Allah has sent help through the Qur’an as reading the Qur’an and remembering Allah can alleviate depression with the help of Allah. Also calling on Allah and reciting the duas of the distressed that the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) sent to help alleviate depression should not be neglected.

Symptoms of depression include chronic fatigue syndrome, insomnia, sleeping frequently and for excessive periods of time, loss of appetite or a ravenous appetite, headaches, backaches, colon disorders, and feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy.

Depression may be caused by tension, upset stomach, stress, headache, nutritional deficiencies, poor diet, sugar, mononucleosis, thyroid disorders, endometriosis, any serious physical disorder, or allergies.

Some people become more depressed in the winter months when days are shorter and darker. The sun and bright light seem to trigger a response to a brain hormone known as melatonin which in part is responsible for preventing depression. Because of this it is recommended to stay in brightly lit rooms on dark days. For those living in London, this is especially key as most days are gray and overcast which can contribute to depression. Research reveals that two hours of morning sun is very effective in lifting depression. The evening light had comparatively little results.

Depression begins with a disturbance in the part of the brain that governs moods. The average person may be able to handle every day stresses and their bodies readjust to these pressures. When the stress becomes too great for a person and his adjustment mechanism is unresponsive a depression may be triggered.

Food greatly influence the brains behavior and diet is one of the leading causes of depression. This comes about from poor eating habits and constant snacking on junk foods. The brain’s neurotransmitters which help to control our behavor are controlled by what we eat. The neurotransmitters are dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. When the brain produces serotonin, tension is alleviated. When the brain produces dopamine or norepinephrine we tend to act and think more quickly and are more alert.

Eating carbohydrates alone seems to have a calming effect, while proteins increase alertness. Protein meals containing essential fatty acids and or carbohydrates are recommended for increased alertness. Salmon and white fish are good choices. Avoid foods high in saturated fats, consumption of fried foods such as hamburgers and French fries as they will lead to sluggishness, slow thinking, and fatigue.

Complex carbohydrates have a calming effect as they raise the level of tryptophan in the brain, while protein promotes the production of dopamine and norepinephrine which promote alertness. A balance is achieved when the diet contains a combination of these two nutrients. A turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread is a good combination as the turkey is high in protein and the whole wheat bread supplies complex carbohydrates. You should eat more carbohydrates than protein if you are nervous and are trying to relax. If you are tired and trying to become more alert, you should eat more proteins than carbohydrates.

A depressed person who is looking for an immediate lift would benefit from eating foods like turkey, salmon, or mackeral, which are high in tryptophan and protein.

Once should be awae of the fact that the body will react more quickly to the presence of sugar than it does to the presence of complex carbohydrates; therefore the increase in energy supplied by the simple carbohydrates is quickly accompanied by fatigue and depression.

Heredity is also a key factor in depression as up to 50 percent of people that suffer from recurrent episodes of depression had one or both parents who were depressive.

Nutritional recommendations include the following:

* a raw fruit and vegetable diet, with soybeans and their by-products is important.
* Diets too low in complex carbohydrates can cause serotonin depletion and depression.
* Vitamin B Complex is good for normal brain functioning
* Calcium and magnesium have a calming effect and is needed for the nervous system.
* L-Tyrosine alleviates stress by boosting productionof adrenaline and raises dopamine levels which influence moods. Lack of tyrosine results in a norepinephrine deficiency at a specific brain location, resulting in mood disorders such as depression.
* Lithium arginate or lithium orotate is for manic depressives.
* Multivitamin and mineral complex may be helpful as vitamin and mineral deficiencies are associated with depression.
* Vitamin B6 is good for normal brain function
* Vitamin C is needed for immune function and aids in preventing depression.
* If you are taking MAO inhibitor drugs you should avoid tyrosine as it can raise blood pressure. Also consume the following foods in moderation: avocados, cheese, chocolate, herring, meat tenderizer, raisins, sour cream, soy sauce yeast extracts, and yogurt.
* Diet is very important to alleviate stress. Try to stay away from foods that create stress on the system such as colas, fried foods, junk foods, sugar, white flour products, and potato chips. Eat a 50 to 75 percent raw foods diet. Eliminate dairy products for three weeks and then reintroduce slowly and observe the return of symptoms of your ‘nervous’ condition. A quality diet, exercise and proper rest are very important. You will be amazed at the results.
* Avoid caffeine as it aggravate stress.

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