An astounding number of Americans suffer from depression.
Studies show that despite current efforts to treat depression, it is becoming more prevalent. The U.S. Center for Mental Health Services even states that 1 in every 33 children suffers from depression. That is a hard statistic to accept. With depression rates rising, especially in children, shouldn’t we be asking more questions?
What is causing this significant increase in depression?
For one, just the rate at which we move on all levels has increased. We are in a race and, unfortunately, it is our health and nutrition that suffer. With technology, transportation allows us to move to and from places more quickly than ever. Our brain processes information at a high speed alongside the internet. We are able to do more and know more as the world around us continues to move faster.
What does our high-speed world do to our nervous system and our actual ability to keep up?
In our pursuit of survival, success, and happiness, have we forgotten the importance of slowing down and making time for our self? An important aspect of slowing down and tuning into our intrinsic world is that we learn to listen to our own body. The multitasking mode of our society can draw us away from our internal self and nature. In fact, studies have shown that the lack of unstructured play and time in nature is greatly contributing to emotional disorders in children. Are adults any different? I think we all need time to play, be and get lost in nature.
How has our diet evolved and changed over time? Does what we eat affect our emotional health?
Another aspect of everyday life that has significantly changed over time is our diet. The average American diet is high in calorie and low in nutrition. We have been taught that it is the brain that controls the rest of the body, but the brain, in fact, receives most of its signals from the gut. If the enteric nervous system (the intrinsic nervous system of your gut) is not receiving the vitamins, minerals, fats and proteins needed for nourishment, it cannot do its job. So perhaps those unfriendly blues can be attributed to a deficiency in your diet.
How do you support your mental and emotional health with diet?
Support the health of your gut by eating foods that will fuel your brain and stabilize your mood through the very best nutrition. Food intolerances can contribute to emotional symptoms; by eating simple whole foods and a plant-based meal plan, you can help your body cleanse and eliminate food intolerances. Increase your intake of B vitamins, folic acid, amino acids, and omega-3 fatty acids through a nutrient-dense diet. Mood boosting foods include: dark leafy greens, beets, carrots, celery, avocados, lentils, walnuts, almonds, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, spirulina, chai and cacao, just to name a few.
No matter what the symptom may be, whether it affects the mind or body, treating just the symptom can never heal the root cause. Focus on creating whole health. Whenever you focus on healing the whole, all the parts that make you who you are move into balance. A balanced body and mind know how to leave the blues behind.