Advertising
Advertising

Natural Ways to Fight Depression

Natural Ways to Fight Depression

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), some 350 million people suffer from depression all over the world, making it a problem of truly global proportions.  Depression comes with an array of difficult signs and symptoms, including feelings of hopelessness or despair, physical pain, fatigue, problems with eating and sleeping and sometimes even thoughts or attempts at suicide.

The good news is, however, that along with medication and counselling, there are a lot of natural lifestyle choices you can make to help support your journey back to good mental health. Most of them are so simple that they might surprise you!

Advertising

running-573762_1280

    Regular Exercise

    This can be a difficult lifestyle choice to make because of the fatigue that depression can bring with it, but if you can manage it, regular and gentle exercise can support your emotional health. This is because physical activity release endorphins, natural “feel good” hormones that can help raise your mood levels naturally. Regular exercise can also combat stress, with frequently goes along with depression.

    fitness-1327255_1280

      Stress Management

      Stress — and in the inability to cope with stress — is often an underlying cause of depression or can at least make the problem worse.  So taking up a stress-busting exercise like yoga or tai chi or learning how to meditate can help to deal with these feelings of anxiety and make them easier to cope with in healthy ways.

      Advertising

      women-1086931_1280

        A Healthy Diet

        Many people with depression will tend to either over- or under-eat, leading to problems with weight.  However, a healthy, balanced diet with good portions of foods throughout the day can help you cope with depression by keeping your blood sugars balanced and your energy level steady; it will also help you to get the vitamins and minerals you need to keep your nervous system (including your brain) healthy.

        Advertising

        medication-233109_1280

          Natural Supplements

          There are also plenty of herbs and supplements out there that can also help you conquer your depression.  One of them is fish oil supplements; it has been found that the omega-3 fatty acids in the oil support the health and balance of the nervous system. Another one is St. John’s Wort, which is thought to help depression by increasing levels of serotonin, a “feel good” hormone in the brain. However, you should talk to your doctor before beginning any supplement to make sure it will not react with medications you are already taking.

          friendship-1057660_1280

            Social Time

            One of the hardest parts of depression is how lonely and isolated it can make you feel. So even if you don’t always feel like it, get out and socialize and allow the support and love of your friends and family to get you through the tough times.  Support groups, friends, people from your church or other place of worship can all play a role in giving you the emotional strength you need as you work to get well.

            Advertising

            relaxing-454508_1280

              Sleep

              If you are fighting a battle with depression, the importance of getting a good night’s sleep (ideally between 7 and 8 hours a night) cannot be over-emphasized. Sleep deprivation can make feelings of depression — as well as stress and anxiety — much worse and can put a strain on your nervous system and brain. However, make sure not to oversleep, which can be a struggle for some people who suffer from depression.

              The takeaway here is that if you are battling depression, you are not alone — and you can also be empowered to make the lifestyle changes that will help you overcome with problem.  A healthy, balanced diet, sleep, stress management, supplements and the support of friends and loved ones can all combine to make your journey more successful and to complement your medications and counselling.

              More by this author

              Brian Wu

              Health Writer, Author

              Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Extremely Tired And How to Fix It Amazing Benefits Of Cucumber Water (+5 Refreshing Recipes) How To Improve Your Health With Matcha Green Tea How To Enjoy Green Tea By Reducing Caffeine In It 8 Amazing Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds You Shouldn’t Miss

              Trending in Health

              1 The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype 2 20 Easy and Healthy Breakfast Recipes for Rush Mornings 3 5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively 4 10 Easy Ways To Practice Mindfulness 5 3 Reasons Why Mental Health Is So Important

              Read Next

              Advertising
              Advertising
              Advertising

              Last Updated on May 21, 2020

              The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

              The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

              You have probably seen enough fad diets to last a lifetime. Many have become popular overnight and left just as quickly.

              Some fad diets, though, have actually passed the test of time and are making some headway in the nutritional world.

              Outlined below are four fad diets that are actually beneficial for your health and wellness. Read on to find out why you should consider adopting one (or more) of these healthy eating styles today.

              An important concept you should keep in mind is to disregard the term “diet” as it is typically used. The word diet implies the idea of restriction and removal. Instead, think of the word diet in this context as a healthy eating lifestyle.

              Let’s take a look at some of these healthy eating lifestyles that have been categorized, by no fault of their own, as fad diets.

              1. The Paleo Diet

              The paleo diet, or ancestral eating, is simply eating the way your paleolithic ancestors would have up to 10,000 years ago, or when the agriculture age began.

              The advantage now is you don’t have to do this in a loin cloth, unless you want to… The focus of this diet is proteins, vegetables, some fruits, nuts and seeds and some healthy fats.

              In the paleo diet, there aren’t any grains, starchy carbohydrates, sugars, or dairy.

              Advertising

              How Your Health Can Change With Paleo

              The paleo diet is a good way to keep your blood sugar under control. It can also have a positive effect on type 2 diabetes, and can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.

              With this healthy eating lifestyle, people have also achieved good weight loss results and boast improved energy levels. [1]

              It’s not just what’s in the paleo diet that’s important, it’s what’s NOT in it. There aren’t any processed and manufactured foods, junk foods, artificial ingredients or chemical additives.

              Paleo is a way of eating that gets you more in tune with your body and, therefore, can provide a lot of benefits.

              2. Whole30

              The Whole30 diet is relatively new and owes its popularity to social media and the #Whole30 Instagram hashtag that allowed people to share and broadcast their success with the diet.

              With Whole30 you are taking 30 days and focusing on nutritious whole foods such as meats, nuts and seeds, seafood, eggs, vegetables, and fruits.

              During the month you are eliminating:

              Advertising

              • sugar
              • alcohol
              • legumes
              • grains
              • dairy
              • soy

              Whole30 is similar to paleo, but it goes a bit further eliminating sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup.

              At the end of the 30 days, you strategically reintroduce those eliminated foods back into your diet to discover any possibility of health consequences from them or even potential food allergies.

              Finding Out How Food Impacts You

              Most people eat the same things so often and may not realize that certain foods are causing health consequences, as they’ve become accustomed to feeling lethargic and run down.

              With Whole30 you get the chance to see how these foods may have a negative impact on your body. You’ll also reset your taste buds, which may have become desensitized from processed and artificial “foods” and excess salt.

              This diet will help you regain your love of food… in a healthy way!

              3. The Mediterranean Diet

              The Mediterranean diet has been at the top of the list as a very effective diet for some time now.

              For people in countries like Italy or Greece, this has simply been a normal way of life–along with higher activity levels, sunlight exposure, proximity to water, and lower stress.

              Advertising

              With the Mediterranean diet, the focus is on heart-healthy foods. It looks like this:

              • Fruits & vegetables
              • Whole grains
              • Legumes & nuts
              • Replacing butter with olive oil
              • Using herbs and spices instead of salt
              • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
              • Moderate amounts of red wine

              Help Your Heart & Overall Health With A Mediterranean Diet

              Information from the Mayo Clinic shows that this diet reduces heart disease and lowers your “bad” LDL cholesterol. Studies involving 1.5 million people demonstrated that the Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality, along with overall mortality. [2]

              With all these benefits, this is definitely a “fad diet” that’s worth the hype.

              4. The Alkaline Diet

              The alkaline diet is about changing the foods you eat so that you put your body into an alkaline state and out of an acidic state. When your body is too far on the acidic side it can result in a condition called acidosis. This can lead to issues in your body such as upset stomach, breathing difficulties, headaches, weakness and, fatigue. In extreme cases, it can result in shock, coma, or death.

              The goal is to get your body in a more alkaline state, which results in overall better health. The focus is on including alkaline boosting foods such as fruits, nuts, vegetables, and legumes. You’re also wanting to reduce acidic foods such as low quality beef and poultry, dairy, eggs, grains, and alcohol.

              Pros & Cons With The Alkaline Diet

              The benefits that come from this way of eating is that reduction in inferior quality foods, processed items and alcohol. You may feel improved energy levels, mental clarity and even better joint health.

              Advertising

              People also report weight loss but again this may come from the reduction in calories from junk and processed foods but this is not a bad thing at all.

              One con with this diet is that the pH value of the food you eat might not have an impact on blood pH, as your body is able to balance this pretty well on a day-to-day basis.

              Follow These Fads for Better Health and Wellness

              There can be a danger in categorizing things as a fad diet because fads come and go. People are always looking for the next big thing or a quick fix.

              The four examples above buck that status quo. These diets, though mainstream, actually can give you benefits and aren’t going to go away anytime soon because they work.

              What makes these diets special is that they boast real whole foods and the eliminate processed and manufactured junk.

              The Big Takeaway:

              Whatever way you choose to eat, the focus needs to be on whole unprocessed foods. Look for the cleanest, local and most natural things you can find for the benefit of your overall health and wellness. Your body and mind will thank you.

              Featured photo credit: Dan Gold via unsplash.com

              Reference

              Read Next