According to the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, an estimated 17.5 million Americans are affected by some form of depression, 9.2 million of whom suffer from "major or clinical depression." While much is known about depression, its symptoms and some causes, research continuously illuminates more about this condition that ails so many.
People with depression experience a complete lackluster view on life, taking little enjoyment in their daily lives, isolating themselves and further hurting themselves via a damaging sense of self. Patients who experience these feelings may be less likely to participate in healthy behaviors such as exercise and eating well.
Although there are not yet conclusive studies linking depression and diet, there does seem to be a correlation. According to the Mayo Clinic, "Researchers in Britain looked at depression and diet in more than 3,000 middle-aged office workers over the course of five years. They found that people who ate a junk food diet — one that was high in processed meat, chocolates, sweet desserts, fried food, refined cereals and high-fat dairy products were more likely to report symptoms of depression."
Depression at the biochemical level is an imbalance of serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine levels in the brain. Many of these secretion levels are influenced by diet. Poor diets lead to less regulation and therefore detrimental higher and lower levels.
This is not to say that depression is purely chemical.The low sense of self may contribute to a patient's diet, not thinking that taking care of oneself is "worth it." Eating well, although not an absolute solution to depression, can improve mood and the quality of life for a person suffering from depression. Fruits, nuts, meats and vegetables – such as beet root, lentils, almonds, spinach — liver, chicken, fish, breads, breakfast cereals and milk are natural combatants of mood disorders and other related diseases such as dementia.
These foods attack the symptoms of depression that allow it to persist. Lack of sleep is a detrimental component of depression that can be alleviated by a better diet. The link between lack of sleep or too much sleep and depression are incontrovertible. According to the National Sleep Foundation, "evidence suggests that people with Insomnia have a ten-fold risk of developing depression." Foods rich in B6 and B12 vitamins are also productive in addressing mood affected by diet. Processed foods, namely meats, can increase your risk to heart disease according to the Mayo Clinic, and adding another chronic ailment to an already chronically ill body is not advised.
When looking for help with depression from a top treatment center, look to Fairwinds Treatment Center in Clearwater, FL. Headed by Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef, who 25 years ago championed the Dual-Diagnosis method — treating patients in recovery with both therapeutic counseling and clinical care — Fairwinds has successfully helped countless patients battling with depression, substance abuse, and other disorders as one of the top treatment centers in Florida.