We are in a bad mood epidemic. Today we’re 100 times more likely to suffer from significant mood problems than people were 100 years ago. But what can we do about it?
The rate of depression has tripled since 1990.
1 in 10 children suffer from significant mood disorders.
Depression is very prevalent in today’s world with the World Health Organisation claiming that by 2020 it will be the second leading cause of preventable death worldwide. It is also predicted to overtake AIDS as the main cause of early death and disability.
This all makes grim reading.
But what can we do?
Are we just leading stressful, unhappy lives?
To help combat depression, most of us who are unfortunate to experience this dark cloud of emotion, are prescribed SSRI drugs by our doctors.
SSRI stands for Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors and commonly known as ‘antidepressants’.
Serotonin is a mood enhancer and our main defence against depression and anxiety. Taking a drug can help the brain retain extra amounts of serotonin helping to enhance our mood.
The most common SSRI on the market is Prozac.
It is a highly profitable drug and with a 224,000% mark up to the consumer it’s big business.
Now this isn’t to say there is no place for antidepressants and I am admittedly unqualified in Pharmaceutical Science. I do believe there is a place for everything and antidepressants can certainly relieve the symptoms of this horrible disorder.
Is there a natural solution that can lift dark moods?
Julia Ross, claims in her book The Diet Cure, that malfunctions in the brain causing mental health problems can be helped through meeting our nutritional needs.
Ross further adds that 80% of American adults suffer from serotonin starvation and this is mainly down to their diet.
That’s right. Eating the right type of foods can help form our mood!
Serotonin is made up of the food you eat
This vital neurotransmitter chemical is synthesised in your body by tryptophan, an amino acid found in foods such as turkey, beef, cheese and also in healthy fats like full fat dairy, nuts and seeds.
But stimulants like caffeinated fizzy drinks, alcohol, coffee and aspartame found in ‘diet’ drinks can sabotage our serotonin levels by inhibiting its production.
All neurotransmitter chemicals derive from amino acids, so eating a quality source of protein will really help. Protein is broken down into amino acids which absorbed through healthy digestion travels straight to the receptor sites in the brain that house the neurotransmitter chemicals.
Therefore, we may be able to rebalance our biochemicals by eating more protein, healthy fats and limiting stimulants.
Depression and other mental health issues are very complex problems and I don’t expect nutrition to be the elusive magic cure as there are other factors at play.
But surely eating the right type of foods is worth a try? You can’t argue with science.
Below is a sample menu from our Metabolic Typing Meal Plans that restore the body’s natural chemical balance and relieve mood-related symptoms.
Good Mood Menu
- Scrambled eggs cooked in coconut oil.
- Hot, whole grain cereal with full-fat milk
- Full-Fat yoghurt with fresh fruit
- Tossed green salad leaves with tomato, onion, radish, peppers, extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice with a choice of grilled chicken or turkey
- Handful of almonds or cashews
- Grilled salmon with steamed broccoli, beetroot, green salad leaves sprinkled with mixed seeds. Add extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar as a dressing.
Have you tried taking charge of your emotion using food? Let us know in the comment box below. We would love to hear your thoughts.