Incorporating nutrition into major depressive disorder treatment plans
December 19, 2021at1:00 PM
Treatments for major depressive disorders can take many different forms. Often, the most effective approach is to combine natural, pharmaceutical, and therapeutic techniques into a complete, holistic plan. One frequently overlooked factor that has a major impact on mental health is nutrition. Patients who are not receiving a sufficient intake of vitamins and minerals on a daily basis may experience heightened symptoms of depression.
Making a few minor adjustments to your diet could make your depressive disorder far more manageable. For this reason, we encourage those receiving treatment for major depressive disorders to educate themselves on the natural techniques that could work as mood stabilizers, and allow for a healthy level of energy throughout the day.
We pride ourselves on taking a holistic approach to health at Bella Jace Center. We want to make sure you have all the information you need to compliment your major depressive disorder treatment plan, which is why we have explained a few ways that you can incorporate nutrition into your everyday life.
Serotonin is the primary hormone that contributes to positive mood states. In the case of depression, sufferers are severely lacking in serotonin, which is why the vast majority of antidepressant medications work to increase levels of this neurotransmitter in the brain. What many people do not realize however, is that serotonin can be increased further by ensuring an adequate consumption of complex carbohydrates. While sugary treats may seem like mood boosters, these simple carbohydrates are not likely to promote improved mental health. Vegetables and whole grains are great examples of complex carbohydrates. While processing these carbohydrates, the brain increases neurotransmitter activity, facilitating the transfer of serotonin.
Combat Seasonal Depressive Disorder
The winter season can be incredibly taxing for sufferers of depression. Depending on where you live, you may see just a few hours of sunlight each day. For many, this means going to work in the dark, and leaving in the dark throughout the week. This severe lack of vitamin D that we receive during the winter can have a detrimental impact on our mental health. The name for this condition is Seasonal Depressive Disorder. A great way to combat this time of the year is by increasing your vitamin D intake through food. Oranges, cheese, eggs, and fish are all great sources of this vitamin.
Incorporate omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids serve as an excellent way to improve overall brain function and fight depression. Not only is this nutrient incredibly beneficial for your health, but it promotes the transmission of mood-boosting hormones in the brain. Additionally, this nutrient has proven to improve the duration and quality of sleep for those who struggle with poor sleep health or insomnia. This helps improve energy levels, which can in turn, lessen the symptoms of depression.
Increase neurotransmitter levels
Maintaining an adequate daily intake of protein is a challenge for many. However, if you suffer from depression, this is an important nutrient to add to your diet. Protein is made up of amino acids, which are turned into various neurotransmitters such as tryptophan. Many psychiatrists who formulate major depressive disorder treatment plans will recommend implementing a consistent diet to ensure an adequate amount of protein. This nutrient can be found in meat, fish, dairy, eggs, or in the form of whey protein. Alternatively, you may consider taking amino acid supplements which will directly convert into neurotransmitters in the brain.
There are numerous ways to improve your mental health beyond medication and counselling. Contact our team at Bella Jace Center to learn more about our approach to major depressive disorders and how we can help you.