(Natural News) When the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) Prozac first hit the market in 1988, around 2.5 million people were prescribed the drug. By 2002, that number had increased to 33 million. In the subsequent years, many other SSRIs have been produced and prescribed prolifically, with doctors handing them out like candy to anyone who is struggling with a bout of depression, no matter how mild.
Nonetheless, the shocking reality is that all those pills have made no dent at all in the suicide rate in the United States. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that between 2000 and 2016, the age-adjusted suicide rate in the U.S. increased by a staggering 30 percent. Suicide remains the 10th leading cause of death in our country.
While there is no doubt that there are people with serious mental health issues who do require medication, it is also true that for many – if not most – there are other treatment options that may be even more effective, including cognitive behavioral therapy. Experts also advise increasing physical activity, getting enough sleep and eating the right foods as important ways to boost the body’s depression-fighting abilities.
Just exactly which foods are best for combating depression has not always been very clear, but a recent study published in the World Journal of Psychiatry has categorized the foods – both plant and animal – which score highest in their ability to fight the blues.
Plant foods score highest in the fight against depression
For their study, researchers Laura LaChance and Drew Ramsey developed an antidepressant food score after examining studies going all the way back to the 1940s, which were focused on the link between specific nutrients and a reduction in depressive symptoms. Psychology Today reported on the results:
Twelve nutrients emerged after rigorous analyses as carrying the highest antidepressant potential: folate, iron, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, potassium, selenium, thiamine, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, and zinc. Oysters, watercress, spinach, kale, and several organ meats were considered antidepressant nutrient-dense. …
When the authors categorized foods, vegetables as a food group had the highest mean antidepressant food score. This is significant, considering that according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) only 1 in 10 adults eat enough fruits or vegetables per day. This research offers another good reason to pile up on the green stuff. Oysters sit atop the non-veggie antidepressant foods.
Junk food causes depression
Since eating the right healthy foods can have a major impact on improving mood, it stands to reason that eating the wrong foods can be a major trigger of depression. This research helps explain what many other studies have found, namely that junk food is one of the major causes of depression. (Related: Eating processed food leads to depression.)
Dutch scientists recently found that the damage to tiny blood vessels caused by a poor diet can increase a person’s risk of depression by nearly 60 percent. Eating junk food can lead to high blood pressure and diabetes, both of which can destroy the tiny blood vessels known as capillaries that carry oxygen throughout the body. When these capillaries are damaged, the body’s organs get a reduced supply of oxygen. The kidneys, nerves, skin and eyes can all be affected, and one organ that is particularly vulnerable is the brain. A lack of oxygen to the brain disrupts chemical levels, and this neurotransmitter imbalance is believed to be a cause of depression.
There are so many reasons to eat the “right” nutrient-dense, non-GMO, organic fruits, vegetables and animal proteins. In addition to fighting depression, choosing the right foods will improve our overall health immensely, leading to increased energy, longevity and a general feeling of well-being.
Learn more about the importance of your food choices at Nutrients.news.