10 Foods I Eat Every Day To Beat Depression
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A year ago this month my husband and I started a new diet. It had nothing to do with a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. For about nine months, he had been suffering from bad hives all over his body. It was bizarre. One day he’d wake up and they’d be all over his back. The next afternoon, his lip was swollen so much he couldn’t talk. He had been to a few different allergists and they told him it was “idiosyncratic” (meaning they didn’t know how to fix it) and told him to take Zyrtec indefinitely — until they went away.
“Could it be related to my diet?” he asked.
“No,” they said.
One guy sent him home with fungus cream that made the tiny red spots swell into ripe, red tomatoes all over his arms.
So he decided to try his own experiment and see if it worked.
The journey started with the book Eat to Live, by Joel Fuhrman, MD. We bought a used Vitamix, those ridiculously expensive blenders, and we were off: kale smoothies in the morning, homemade almond butter with celery for snack, and black bean soup for dinner.
His hives went away within a few weeks. Apparently the white flour and processed foods were causing the inflammation all over his body. My inflammation is in my brain, a rather complex organ, so my result took much longer — like nine months. But I’m finally starting to feel the real benefit of our diet changes.
Here is a list of 10 foods I eat every day now in order to feel good. These foods provide the nutrients my body needs to fight off inflammation in my brain, which leads to depression.
1. Dark Leafy Greens
If you were to choose the healthiest food of all, the most nutrient-dense item available to us to eat, it would be dark, leafy greens, no contest. Spinach. Kale. Swiss chard. Greens are the first of the G-BOMBS (Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries, Seeds) that Dr. Fuhrman describes in his book, The End of Dieting, the foods with the most powerful immune-boosting and anticancer effects.
“These foods help to prevent the cancerous transformation of normal cells and keep the body armed and ready to attack any precancerous or cancerous cells that may arise,” he writes. They fight against all kinds of inflammation, and according to a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry, severe depression has been linked with brain inflammation. Leafy greens are especially important because they contain oodles of vitamins A, C, E, and K, minerals and phytochemicals.
Walnuts are one of the richest plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and numerous studies have demonstrated how omega-3 fatty acids support brain function and reduce depression symptoms. A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry is especially interesting. The lead authors ask the question, Why is the vast biological research — from genetics to psychopharmacology — concentrated on neurotransmitters, when the mammalian brain is approximately 80 percent fat (lipids), and there is a growing body of research demonstrating the critical role of lipids to help brain functioning? What’s more, the shift in the Western diet away from these necessary omega-3 fatty acids over the last century parallels the large rise in psychiatric disorders in that time.