Contributing Writers for Wake Up World
Nearly 20 million people have been diagnosed with depression in the United States alone; this does not account for the many more million globally who suffer from it.
Most people who suffer from this condition may not seek any treatment; although many can be helped with natural remedies, they often find it hard to stick with the protocols because more often than not they are looking for an instant cure.
The truth is, a magic bullet or formula does not exist. It is up to us to find the cure, as we all have the ability to solve many, if not most, of the problems that ail us.
On the other hand, depression can sometimes masquerade as a symptom of some other underlying condition such as hypothyroidism or anaemia leaving many taking unnecessary medication.
We must recognize the problem when it arises and take necessary steps to help alleviate some of the symptoms. Most times depression is simply a state of mind or consciousness. As we are all a crystallization of consciousness, sometimes curing depression is as easy as changing our outlook on life.
For those of you who need an additional nutritional boost, we have listed below some great remedies to help you along the path of healing.
Natural Depression Remedies
St. John’s Wort
This wonderful herb has been long used as a folk remedy for sadness, worry, and poor sleep. Today, however, the results of over 20 clinical trials suggest that the popular herb works better than a placebo in treating mild cases of depression without any side effects. It may take up to 4-6 weeks to notice the full effects. St – John’s wort grows in many regions of the world. Please consult your local herbalists or botanist for further information on the plant. It is important to note that pregnant or nursing woman should avoid taking the herb.
Also known as folate (its natural form), is a B vitamin (B9) which is often found in lower amounts in people who suffer from depression. Folate is found primarily in green leafy vegetables, fruits and beans. It is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies because of poor diet. Some other reasons for its deficiency include other chronic conditions and the use of various medications like aspirin and birth control pills which heavily deplete this important nutrient from the body.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These are important “good” fats that are needed for proper brain function. It is important to note that our body cannot make these fats, so we must retrieve them from our diet; if diet isn’t enough, we must ensure that a good quality supplement is administered daily. Studies have linked depression with low dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Countries who’s diet consists mainly of fish (Japan & Taiwan) the rate of depression is 10 times lower than North America. Cold water fish such as salmon, sardines, anchovies and krill are the richest food source of omega-3 fatty acids; plant sources include walnuts and flax seeds.
With any sensible diet it is important to reduce your intake of sweets. Sweets disturb the secretion of insulin. As they may give you a temporary high, they are sure to worsen your mood when the effect wears off. Further to this, avoid caffeine and alcohol. Both substances can dampen mood so much so that they can worsen mood swings, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Apart from eliminating certain foods, ensure that your getting plenty of good foods. Vitamin B6 and magnesium are important for the production of serotonin (your happy hormone). Although B6 deficiency is often rare, it can often times be correlated to taking oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy. Good food sources of vitamin B6 include: tuna, chicken, potatoes, and sunflower seeds. Similarly, magnesium deficiency is common among most people living in the “western world”. Good sources of magnesium include: legumes, nuts, whole grains and green vegetables.
Exercise is an important part of anyone’s routine; It is the most effective and inexpensive way to improve one’s mood. Exercise, particularly aerobic, releases mood-elevating hormones in the brain (serotonin, dopamine), thus decreasing cortisol levels (stress). One of the best ways to include exercise in your routine is to take a brisk walk at least 5 times a week for 30 minute periods; the most important thing however is to choose what you enjoy doing.
Many people develop what is called as seasonal depression, whereby they are not being exposed to enough sunlight (particularly in the fall and winter months). Serotonin is activated in the morning during the exposure to sunlight, however, during the winter months serotonin levels can drop dramatically making us feel tired an prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). One of the most simple ways to increase your exposure to light is to walk outdoors in the morning. Just be sure to use natural sunscreen to protect your skin from ultraviolet light. Another option is to use special lights that simulate natural daylight. Studies have found they are effective. These lights can be found online. There are different types available, from light boxes to visors, that are typically used for 20-30 minutes a day. Look for lights with a minimum of 3,000 lux. many experts suggest 10,000 lux.
In retrospect, depression can be a serious condition if not properly treated. Make sure to consult with your naturopath or homeopath on the very first signs of any depressive tendencies. Tune into your inner voice for guidance; often times it’s a battle of mind over matter. Always try to culture a positive mental attitude.
Your question(s): What other methods or protocols do you follow to treat depression? (post your comments below)
About the Authors
Jordan & Kyla are passionate about health; together, they have overcome many illnesses through dietary and lifestyle changes, and the art of practicing a positive mindset daily. Kyla is currently studying to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Reiki Master, and Jordan is currently learning about traditional North American medicinal herbs, in hopes of becoming a Certified Herbalist. For more information, please visit the following sites; guidinginstincts.com, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Pinterest
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Wake Up World or its staff.