The Best Natural Herbs and Spices to Help Fight Depression

depressed woman

Eating healthily, regular exercise, and even pet therapy can aid in the fight against depression. These natural antidepressants could negate the need to take anti-depressants and could help alleviate symptoms that can include nausea, headaches, muscle tension, rapid breathing and difficulty sleeping.

Antidepressants aren't considered addictive, but patients may experience withdrawal symptoms when coming off the drug. There is also an extensive list of potential side effects, including nausea, weight gain, a loss of sex drive and fatigue. Fortunately there are certain herbs, spices and natural supplements you can take that will help you fight depression naturally.

First, A Little Bit About Depression

According to the World Health Organization 300 million people suffer from depression globally, and it is the leading cause of disability in the world.

40 million US adults, or 18.1% of the population, suffer from the condition, according to figures from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America who also list the primary risk factors as being genetics, brain chemistry, personality and life events. In the UK, anxiety and depression rates in workers have increased by 30% since 2013; 30.5% of employees suffer moderate to severe anxiety.

How Can Lifestyle Changes Effect How You Feel?

Even if you do opt for a course of antidepressants, your physician will usually recommend some lifestyle changes. Depression can be a symptom of unhealthy living. Improve your diet, especially cutting out foods that cause highs and lows in energy and mental awareness.

Get more exercise, or start exercising, and avoid habits like drinking and smoking because these could be having a detrimental effect on your mental welfare.

You can also adopt meditation and mindfulness techniques. Yoga enhances your exercise levels, and it also encourages meditative practices. You don't have to visit a yoga studio, although getting out and meeting new people is also an effective way to help alleviate stress, and experts suggest that as little as 25 minutes a day, three days a week, can help alleviate the symptoms of depression.

Why Does Junk Food Causes Depression

There is some evidence to suggest that junk food causes depression. The trans fats and saturated fats could increase the chances of a person developing depression, although research also suggests that other factors could be at play. People that are more likely to eat junk food are also more likely to be single or overweight, and these are both known to lead to depression. There is a definite link between food and depression, however.

There is a strong link between diet and state of mind. A bad diet can be linked to depression, while a good diet, especially when combined with regular exercise, can lift spirits and help reduce the likelihood of a person developing depression.

Can The Right Food Cure Depression?

Tests on the effect of food on depression have been inconclusive, and there certainly isn't any specific diet that will instantly relieve the symptoms. However, it is known that free radicals, created naturally by the body, attack cells in the brain. As such, eating foods that are rich in anti-oxidants can stave off depression because they help to fight the free radicals in our body.

What Natural Foods Fight Depression?

Foods that are high in beta-carotene, vitamin C or vitamin E, are those that are most likely to aid the body. This means fruit like apricots, peaches, pumpkin, grapefruit, and kiwi, as well as vegetables including broccoli, carrots, spinach, sweet potato, and tomatoes are beneficial. Additional foods that can help include margarine, vegetable oil, wheat germ, and nuts.

What Food Deficiency Causes Depression?

Because vitamins C and E can help to fight depression, it is also reasonable to assume that a deficiency in these vitamins can contribute to depression. If you do not get enough fruit and vegetables in your diet, this could be one of the causes of your low mood.

Can Herbs Help Depression?

Herbal remedies have been used for thousands of years. They can fight physical as well as emotional problems. Whether you want to avoid taking prescribed medication or are looking for additional weapons in your antidepressant arsenal, you can try adding some natural herbs to your diet.

Which Natural Herbs Help Depression?

Health food and supplement shops may market the following herbs for depression:

  • Hawthorn
  • Lavender
  • Gingko Biloba
  • Chamomile
  • Kava
  • Valerian

Turmeric is a particularly popular herb. It is the herb that is used to flavor curry, and it is used in both Chinese and Indian medicine. This spicy herb works by activating genes, which then create antioxidants naturally. It is possible to buy a natural antidepressant that contains turmeric as well as other beneficial herbs and ingredients.

Studies have not shown a positive correlation between these herbs and depression, but they are certainly worth adding to your diet. Chamomile tea and other herbal teas are known to have a relaxing effect, and relaxation is an effective way to help beat depression.

Natural Supplements For Depression

If you already take anti-depressants, then you should always consult with a doctor before completely switching to a supplement based diet. You should also consult with your physician or a pharmacist to check for drug interactions. Some patients have, over time, made the switch from prescription based anti-depressants to more natural solutions, and the following supplements are those that have proven effective, according to patients.

What Natural Supplements Help Depression?

  • Omega-3 Capsules - The link between Omega-3 oils and the brain are well known, but if you want to enjoy the best results then you may need to spend a little more to buy the best quality supplements. You want a high ratio of EicosaPentaenoic Acid (EPA) to DocosaHexaenoic Acid (DHA) because recent research has found that EPA is more effective in fighting depression.
  • Vitamin B-12 - A lot of people unknowingly have a vitamin B-12 deficiency, and it is difficult to artificially produce this vitamin. Vitamin B-12 shots are an option, or you can take a liquid form of the vitamin every day.
  • Vitamin D - There are certain conditions that can feel like depression, and vitamin D deficiency is one such ailment. Many people are deficient in this vitamin, which your body can gather from sunlight. Take liquid capsules or vitamin supplements that concentrate on this essential compound.
  • Magnesium - Coffee and sugar can deplete our natural store of magnesium, but so too can stress and anxiety. This shows that the body uses magnesium when it is trying to fight depression, so when taking supplements for depression look for those that contain a level of magnesium in order to help the body fight off anxiety and stress.
  • Calcium - Strictly speaking, lack of calcium will not necessarily lead to depression. However, dairy products have been shown to increase the likelihood of the disease. Cutting out dairy products means that you are likely to have a calcium deficiency, so taking supplements to make up for this deficiency will help.
  • Melatonin - Melatonin is used by the body to encourage sleep. If your brain is not getting enough of this compound, then you will struggle to sleep, and this is a major problem that is caused by, and that causes depression. Supplements that contain a mixture of melatonin, calcium and magnesium are especially potent in the fight against depression.

Depression has become increasingly common, and it is more likely than ever that you will be diagnosed with the disease at one point in your life. Although there are prescription drugs that a physician can prescribe, you may want to try natural antidepressants, and a regimen of herbs and vitamin-rich foods to help beat the condition. The best natural antidepressant tends to contain a combination of vitamins and minerals that are designed to help you sleep, to reduce stress levels and to help prevent depression.

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