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Most of us will suffer from depression to some degree during our lives. For some, it is an occasional down feeling that lasts a day or two and for others it can be a life long battle. There are many medical and psychiatric interventions for serious depression that should be explored if the depression lasts for a week or more or the depressed person has thoughts of self-injury. For those who only experience mild or moderate occasional depression, a look at diet may be in order.

Hectic, pressure-filled lives leave many of us feeling exhausted and blue. One of the problems we experience with a fast paced lifestyle is poor diet. Instead of getting a well-balanced meal three times a day, we make do with snacks and fast food. This pattern of poor eating can contribute to depression.

One of the first problems with poor diet is that we don’t maintain a balance in the level of glucose in our blood. This leads to bursts and dips of energy. The dips are what leave us feeling depressed. Rather than combat them with a shot of sugar, like a candy bar, we would do better to maintain a steady level of glucose by eating 3 meals plus two or three snacks a day. Maintaining a steady level of blood sugar will decrease those depressing feelings of exhaustion.

The quality of food that we eat is important too. All of us benefit from getting enough of the required nutrients in our system, but those prone to depression should be conscious of getting enough of the right kinds of vitamins and minerals.

Serotonin is the hormone most responsible for keeping us feeling upbeat. When we don’t get enough B vitamins, our bodies can’t produce enough serotonin to fight off depression. Dark green, leafy vegetables are rich in B vitamins, but you can also add a B vitamin complex supplement to your diet to make sure you’re getting enough. Check with your doctor before taking any supllements.

When we are under a lot of stress or feeling blue, our bodies think they are under attack from some outside source. In response, the body sends out more adrenalin and cortisol, to help us fight off whatever is attacking us. When there is nothing to fight off, that extra adrenalin and cortisol stay in the bloodstream making us feel anxious and depressed. Vitamin C can help keep this ‘fight or flight’ response under control.

Sometimes, we just need some comfort food. Even if you are watching your weight, consider giving into a craving now and then. Foods do soothe us psychologically. Certain foods remind us of being cared for and nurtured. Allow yourself to indulge in the foods that comfort you, occasionally but watch out for making them a habit.

It just makes sense that good nutrition will help you feel healthier. This goes for your emotional health as well as your physical health. So, eat well and feel better!