Foods known to help fight depression

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WITH all the Mental Health Month activities — from celebrities talking about their own challenges to talk shows discussing related issues — there is definitely increased awareness. Unfortunately, it is likely that a very large part of the combined 25 per cent of people suffering from depressive episodes and anxiety, according to World Health Organization and National Institute of Mental Health statistics, have not had their own challenges addressed.

If you have experienced five or more of the following, occurring within the last two weeks, contact a counsellor, therapist or medical professional — diagnosis begins with consulting a mental health professional. You do not have to struggle alone.

• Weight loss or weight gain;

• Perpetually feeling tired and drained;

• Low feelings to feelings of absolute total despair;

• Difficulty focusing and making decisions;

• Extreme focus on a specific task or purpose;

• Loss of interest in activities and many relationships;

• Feelings of guilt and/or worthlessness;

• Difficulty remembering past events, words or details;

• Frequent thoughts of death and suicide;

• Compromised (lessened) or excessive sleep;

• A lack of pleasure in activities;

• Anxiety, restlessness or a conversely, a slowing down;

• Ruminating, constantly recalling, pondering, deliberating and pouring over issues.

Depression is not sadness, weakness, nor feeling sorry for yourself. It is not being unable to handle regular emotions nor is it unhappiness, moodiness, or laziness. Depression is not uncommon; it is not a passing problem and it is not weird.

Depression is like being drowned in darkness, heavy as lead; it is difficult to move, see, think, or even breath. Your only light is the flame of anxiety and despair. It is a very serious medical illness which can have several levels of severity and it is persistent.

Episodes can last from morning to night and may continue for a day to weeks, to an average of six to eight months.

It will impact interests and the ability to fully appreciate and enjoy life, and can affect your physical health as well as your emotional well-being

If I told you about a person with neck and back surgery, hip damage and an injured knee, living in pain, feeling fatigued with sleepless nights, living a life of agony and torture, you would be able to comprehend or at least imagine that suffering. Millions of people are enduring this reality every day, every week, every month without treatment, understanding or support.

There is nothing weak or weird about depression, just remember, for every hopeful, chirpy, positive cheerful person, there is a person cloaked in despairing darkness.

However, everything is manageable. You can, through knowledge and consistency, manage your personal experience.


You can manage depression

First and foremost, get professional support; do not wait, it helps. If you are disappointed in one counsellor/therapist, try another.

Next, fully realise and believe that nothing is needed to start an episode. They always stop. Have faith.


Your choices can make it better or worse

Avoid social media. People on these websites all seem so know it’s mostly a show, but your subconscious will respond to the images; leave it alone.

Avoid reaction-based traps, such as excessive or engrossing practices which feel like an escape but are really traps. Embrace music, exercise, the outdoors, and new hobbies and group activities.

The foods you eat can also play an enormous role in your management. The change will be difficult at first, but keep going, it will be worth it.


Foods known to worsen depression

• Flour and sugar are like drugs, they lift you up and drop you down, creating and maintaining a deadly cycle;

• Processed and/or red meats;

• Margarines and fake butters;

• Alcohol is not a mood booster, it is a depressant;

• Caffeine is known not to help depression. Green tea is a better choice.


Foods known to fight depression

• Whole grain carbohydrates;

• Ground provisions, such as sweet potato;

• Dark green leafy vegetables;

• Colourful vegetables;

• Fresh fruit and berries;

• Dark chocolate (70% or above);

• Free range poultry, including turkey, rich in the amino acid tryptophan which is used by your body to make serotonin;

• Legumes, nuts, seeds, and beans,

• Avocados;

• Turmeric;

• Fish, including deep sea salmon;

• Fermented foods, kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, natural yogurt;

• Many other healthy natural foods, including mushrooms, walnuts, flaxseed.

I know depression is almost impossible to understand if you don’t experience it, and difficult to do anything about if you do, but it is manageable. The unbelievable clarity and energy you’ll gain by managing depression is worth the effort.


Fitz-George Rattray is the director of Intekai Academy, which is focused on helping people live a healthy lifestyle through nutrition and weight management. If you are interested in losing weight or living a healthier lifestyle, give them a call at 876-863-5923, or visit their website at

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