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Nutrition to Combat Depression

Nutrition to combat depression – is it possible?


Depression is a widespread disease. Almost one in five people will develop the disease at least once in their lifetime. The role that nutrition plays in the development and treatment of the illness is the subject of intense international research, after recent study results revealed interesting connections between nutrition and mental wellness.


Causes that favor depression


The development of depression can be  influenced by various factors. In addition to a genetic disposition, negative life events or as a side effect of an illness, a lack of macro- and micronutrients, eating too much processed food and being very overweight are also considered triggers for depression today.


Whatever the trigger may be – the fact is: The brain metabolism is disturbed, i.e. there is a lack of brain messenger substances, the so-called neurotransmitters, which are important for the forwarding or transmission of information within the network of our nerve cells.


Messenger substances – neurotransmitters


Serotonin and dopamine are well-known neurotransmitters that not only transmit information in the brain, but are also responsible for our well-being. Various studies have demonstrated the link between a deficiency in these two neurotransmitters and the development of depression.


For the optimal synthesis of neurotransmitters, amino acids (e.g. tryptophan) are required above all, but also carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. However, these are often inadequately supplied in cases of depression. This is mainly due to the fact that many persons affected also suffer from a lack of appetite and listlessness, and a balanced and healthy diet is increasingly in the background.


Nutrient deficiency due to fast food


It is not a secret that a diet of highly processed foods increases the risk of illness. However, it is less known that the frequent consumption of hamburgers, ready-made pizzas, French fries, ready-made meals etc. can have a long-term negative impact on your health. The reason for this is obvious: Fast food only provides a low nutrient density, i.e. too few vitamins and minerals, hardly any omega-3 fatty acids, which are needed for the formation of neurotransmitters. It also promotes micro-inflammation in the body, which also has an unfavorable effect on the psyche.


Depression and severe obesity


A link between obesity and depression has been known for some time. The decisive factor is the increased accumulation of fat, especially in the abdominal area. The fat stimulates the production of cytokines. Cytokines are special proteins that stimulate inflammatory processes in the body and in turn trigger depression.


Intestinal bacteria ensure a good mood


The gut with its intestinal bacteria not only supplies our body with nutrients, but the intestinal bacteria are also able to produce numerous hormones and neurotransmitters that reach the brain via the blood and ensure a good mood and a good night’s sleep. However, it is also important to look after the little helpers – the intestinal bacteria – and create an environment in which they feel comfortable and settle permanently in the intestine.


If certain intestinal bacteria are missing, the production of messenger substances also suffers. A high-fiber (prebiotic) diet that promotes digestion is the best way to build up the intestinal flora. Resistant starch, psyllium husks, flaxseed or chia seeds can also have a supportive effect.


Mood food – Nutrition to combat depression


When it comes to finding the right diet for depression, the Mediterranean diet is often mentioned. Large-scale studies have shown that a plant-based diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts (walnuts) and fish can have a health-promoting effect on the mental wellness and depression. In particular, pro-inflammatory foods such as sugar, wheat flour and pork were reduced or avoided in this diet. This reduces micro-inflammation and cell damage in the body, allows neurotransmitters to be produced in sufficient quantities and also has a positive effect on the intestinal microbiome.


Metabolic Balance and depression


Through the individual selection of foods and a balanced ratio of carbohydrates, fats and protein as well as micronutrients, Metabolic Balance provides a healthy basis for the formation of neurotransmitters. In addition, people who are very overweight benefit from moderate weight loss and thus also reduce their risk of depression and diet-related illnesses.


In the case of existing depression, the Metabolic Balance diet can only be seen as a supportive, accompanying measure alongside other psychotherapeutic measures that can improve well-being.

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