SHA Magazine Health & Beauty
Natural remedies to treat depression
As depression becomes more prevalent in our society, more and more people are being treated for this syndrome. Unfortunately, whilst medication might help treat the symptoms, it doesn’t treat the root cause. It may be the easy option, however, it’s not the sustainable or healthiest one.
It’s no surprise that with the chaotic and stressful lifestyles we’re leading, in addition to poor diet, lack of sleep and lack of movement, that depression is on the rise. All these factors are the perfect triggers to cause depression.
An aspect that is often overlooked when dealing with depression is diet. Our gut health is strongly linked with our mental health, in fact, the gut is considered to be the ‘second brain’. Research has shown that the gut microbiota influences brain chemistry and behaviour. In addition, it influences serotonin and dopamine production, in fact, 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut. For those who may need a recap on what serotonin is, it’s the feel-good neurotransmitter that contributes to our happiness and wellbeing.
Considering that today’s diet largely consists of processed foods that completely disrupt the gut flora, like sugar, it is no wonder that depression is a commonality.
Stress also completely wrecks havoc our digestive system, as well as our hormonal levels. When we’re stressed, our cortisol levels increase (the stress hormone) and our serotonin and dopamine levels decrease, in turn, increasing our chances of suffering from depression.
As you can see, there is more you can do to treat depression instead of opting for the easy way out- anti-depressants.
So, how can we treat depression naturally?
First of all, diet plays a huge influence on mood. To support your gut health, it’s best to eat a diet rich in vegetables, grains, fruits, probiotics, healthy fats and fish.
Probiotics are essential for gut health, as good bacteria are essential for our overall health and assimilation of nutrients. You can either consume them as a supplement, or eat foods rich in probiotics, like apple cider vinegar, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kombucha and kefir.
Since sugar destroys the gut flora, it’s best to avoid it. Instead, try these healthy alternatives that are better for you.
In terms of managing stress and keeping those serotonin levels high, exercising is great to boost your mood and energy, as well as feeling better about yourself, and practices like yoga and meditation help you find balance, calmness and clarity.
Meditation need not be daunting or time consuming. In fact, with apps like Headspace, you can meditate anywhere, within just 10 minutes, and notice the positive effects immediately.
With a healthy diet, exercise and meditation to manage stress levels, you can indeed improve your mental health, and treat disorders like depression. We tend to incline for the easy way out and follow the recommendations of medical experts without taking into account that we have all the tools to make a substantial and positive impact on our health.