Tag Archives: natural remedies for depression

6 Natural Remedies For Depression

natural remedies for depression

Along with the outpouring of sorrow that occurred this week with the news of the death of Robin Williams there has also been much discussion about depression – the nature of the illness, reminders to offer our support to those suffering with it, of ways to deal with it.

Clinical depression is a serious illness that needs treatment from a professional western or alternative health practitioner. However many of the symptoms of mild depression can be helped significantly by a variety of natural treatments that you can do for yourself or which a Natural Health practitioner can take you through.

There are many symptoms associated with mild or subthreshold depression including ongoing fatigue, poor sleep, appetite irregularities such as lack of appetite or comfort eating, a lack of interest in relationships events or celebrations, low self-esteem, anxiety, an inability to find motivation, or a feeling of being cut-off from life.

 

1. MINDSET

There have been studies done that confirm that a persons perception of life becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. While depression is not all in the mind your frame of mind is really important for recovery. I am not suggesting you can just ‘snap out of it’. But, while acknowledging that there is something wrong, losing the depression label is a first stepto recovery.

When you buy into defining yourself with a label placed on you by someone else, whether it is a doctor, family or a friend, you relinquish your personal power and undermine your ability to get well. If you allow your thoughts to focus on the label, you accept for yourself the role of someone who is mentally unwell. It may seem simplistic but changing your mindset and making the decision to overcome your illness is the first step that allows you to move forward.

One way to do this is to carefully examine how you are affected by the people you mix with. Tuning into how you feel after spending time with a particular person allows you to sort out any that may be contributing to your low feelings. If you regularly feel disheartened after time spent with anyone it is better for your frame of mind and wellbeing to minimize time with that person.

What your feelings tell you about your relationships with others can come as a real surprise. But acting in congruence with your feelings can turn around your mindset, lift your mood and support you in getting well.

It is also worth asking yourself if your low feelings are linked to your life. Are you expected to sell out your integrity in your work? Are there problems in a relationship that you may need to end? Do you have creative outlets? Feel spiritually disconnected? Is your body restricting you?

Being honest with yourself may help you find the source of your depression. Sometimes having a counselor, psychologist or life coach to help you work through these and define a pathway to change makes things easier to achieve.

 

Learn how to choose the best Homeopathic remedies for acute illnesses

 

 2. HOMEOPATHY

Many natural therapies have a good record with alleviating the symptoms of depression. Acupuncture, herbal therapy and EFT are just a few.

Homeopathy also offers many options for depression. The Homeopathic remedy used depends on the particular symptoms you experience, as everyone’s experience of depression varies slightly, in both the expression and the emotions and thoughts and experiences behind it.

Homeopathy taken in accordance with homeopathic prescribing principles is particularly good at changing your mindset. It allows you to lift your head out of the depressive thoughts and start to move forward.

There are many Homeopathic remedies for depression. One of the first to consider for depression with obvious anxiety is Arsenicum album. These people are often quite particular about describing every little detail of their symptoms. They are often very worried that an illness has been missed and have often undertaken lots of investigative tests.

Another commonly used remedy, Ignatia, is a good remedy when depression follows bereavement or shock. These people are very emotional with lots of sudden mood swings and sudden tears or they may frequently sigh deeply. They don’t want sympathy and often take well meant help as criticism.

A person needing Natrum muriaticum responds differently to grief as does one needing Ignatia. This person builds a barrier and won’t release any emotion through crying. They hate sympathy from others although they are empathetic themselves and will readily care for others. They can be very sensitive and easily move into a lower mood from stimuli such as music.

As you can see Homeopathic prescribing is quite particular and individually selected. Two people may react to a similar experience in very different ways and so require very different remedies. There is also the potential to make symptoms worse if the wrong remedy or potency of remedy is taken. Consulting a Homeopath who can match the correct remedy to your particular symptoms can result in significant improvement.

 

3. FOOD

Food most definitely affects our mood. What we eat and when we eat can have a huge effect. Staying away from caffeine, sugar, fatty foods and alcohol is a great place to begin as these foods actually make depression worse. Don’t keep them in your pantry and you will be less tempted by them. You will feel a lot better if you simply don’t eat them.

Replacing the poor junk foods with nutritious foods moves you towards recovery faster. The top foods to fight depression are:

  • Omega-3 is often lacking in depressed people so eating oily fish and other foods high in omega-3 can make a significant difference. One study showed taking just 1 gm of fish oil a day made a 50% difference in symptoms of depression. Take between 1-3 gm a day. Other omega-3 rich foods include walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseeds.
  • Brown rice is rich in B vitamins as well as trace minerals. Brown rice is great for reducing mood swings due to sugar-highs and lows. Don’t use ‘quick-cook’ varieties as they don’t have the same benefits.
  • Leafy greens are a great source of folic acid, one of the B vitamins helpful for symptoms of depression, as well as magnesium.
  • Bananas are high in tryptophan which is used in the body to make serotonin, the happy hormone. Other foods to enhance serotonin are healthy fats like coconut oil, protein rich foods especially free range turkey and wild caught fish high in omega-3.
  • Don’t skip meals and help keep your blood sugars stable.

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4. SUPPLEMENTS

  • Many people actually suffer from a disorder known as Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD) which is the result of insufficient exposure to sunlight and as a result, they have low Vitamin D levels. This disorder becomes worse as winter progresses and can persist through Spring until levels of Vitamin D build up in their body again. Taking Vitamin D as a supplement through the winter months can dramatically help SAD sufferers. Consult an Alternative Health Practitioner who will work out how much Vitamin D you actually need, it varies from one person to the next.
  • The B Vitamins are linked to a whole range of emotional disorders and if your levels are low taking a supplement can be a great way to keep your spirits up. Take 50 mg of a Vitamin B complex each day rather than individual B Vitamins as each one works better when the others are all present.
  • Magnesium deficiency can be another factor behind depression and mood disorders and there are many who have a deficiency of this crucial mineral.
  • SAMe can be very effective for treating depression. Take 200 gm on an empty stomach.
  • The herb St John’s Wort has long been used for depression. Check with your doctor before using as it can interfere with some pharmaceuticals. Don’t take this if you are taking anti-depressants

 

5. LIFESTYLE

Getting enough exercise is essential to beat depression, no matter how little you feel like it. Pushing yourself to get out for a walk will help improve your spirits. Even exercising along with a DVD in your living room is good.

The effect of meditation on depression has been well-documented and it is known to greatly improve the symptoms. There are many different ways to meditate from simple breathing techniques LINK that you can do in just a few minutes, through guided visualizations, walking meditations, mindfulness LINK and binaural beats. It is all a matter of working out which is the right one for you.

 

6. HORMONES

It may be there is a physical cause for your depression. If your hormones are out of balance your mood will be hugely affected. Finding out your levels of thyroid, adrenal and sex hormones are wrong can offer some clues. Armed with the results, visit your natural health practitioner who can then work toward rebalancing your hormones naturally without resorting to pharmaceutical medicines.

Moving yourself out of mild depression requires a combination of strategies. Making lifestyle changes, dietary changes, examining your relationships and your behaviours all play a part. Seeking out professional help to put these strategies together to achieve the balance you need to move forward can set you on the path to recovery faster.

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Disclaimer

All information and opinions presented here are for information only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before trying any of the treatment suggested on this site.

 

 

Source articles
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/owning-pink/201103/11-natural-treatments-depression-md-s-tips-skipping-the-prozac
http://www.britishhomeopathic.org/bha-charity/how-we-can-help/conditions-a-z/beating-the-blues/
http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/health/health+advice/treating+depression,7821

 

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Fish Oil, Fatty Acids and Other Nutty Ideas

Many people take Fish Oil supplements to boost their Omega-3 intake these days when only a few years ago nobody gave these Essential Fatty Acids very much attention at all.

Scientists have been aware of the benefits to health of omega-3 fatty acids for about sixty years, particularly for their role in helping clear up skin diseases such as psoriasis and eczema. For about thirty years they have been thought to be effective aids to lowering cardiovascular risk and heart attack. But over the last few years there has been an explosion in public awareness of the many diseases that have a link to inadequate amounts omega-3 in the diet, and with this awareness has come the widespread use of supplements to address deficiency related health problems.

If you don’t know the difference between omega-3 and omega-6 you are not alone as most other people don’t either. Our diet now contains many foods high in omega-6 such as breads, biscuits and even meat fed on grains. While we need more omega-6 than omega-3, the ratio being 4:1, the ratio in our diets is actually closer to 10 – 20:1 and so we are getting far more omega-6 than we need at the expense of sufficient omega-3. The omega-6 is often from a poor, highly processed form of the food source. The effect of this unbalance is to cause many other health problems.

Omega-3 and omega-6 are both polyunsaturated fatty acids that we need to add to our diets because our bodies cannot synthesise them. Omega-6 is needed in greater quantities but is also more easily obtained as it occurs in many of the foods that are eaten in large quantities in the western diet. Whilst we need much less omega-3 the amount that most Australians consume falls very far short of their daily requirements.

 

What Are Essential Fatty Acids?

Simply put they are EPA, DHA, GLA, and OA.

  • EPA ( eicosapentaenoic acid) is great for a healthy heart and body
  • DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) for healthy mood, mind and memory
  • GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) for healthy skin, hair and hormones
  • OA (oleic acid) for healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

EPA and DHA occur together in nature and so should always be taken together, along with OA (which is omega-9).

GLA is omega-6 and works well in combination with the other nutrients but as we receive more than adequate quantities in the western diet we do not need to supplement GLA.

 

Omega-3 Deficiency

Deficiency of DHA and EPA has been shown to be linked to many different health issues and the list seems to keep growing. Just a few conditions that indicate a need for more high omega-3 foods in your diet are:

  • depression
  • cardiovascular disease
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • fatigue
  • dry and itchy skin
  • brittle hair and nails
  • difficult concentration
  • joint pain

But there are many more.

 

Omega 3 Food Sources

Before you consider taking an omega-3 supplement you really need to consider whether it is possible to meet your omega-3 requirements from food sources, as research has shown that omega-3 may be better absorbed from foods than it is from supplements, even cod liver oil.

The very best food sources for omega-3 are cold-water oily fish. A few of the best are herrings, sardines and anchovies or in the larger fish, trout, blue mackerel, gemfish, salmon and blue-eye trevalla. A word of warning about salmon – all salmon grown in Australia is farmed, which means it is grown in dense-packed pens near ocean shores, fed fish meal that can be polluted with toxic chemicals, awash in excrement that then gets flushed out to sea and infused with antibiotics to combat unsanitary conditions – really salmon can be viewed as the “battery hen” of the sea.

Good quality salmon will be wild caught and in Australia is unfortunately found only in tins from Canada or Alaska. Opt for imported wild-caught salmon if you can get it.

 

 

DHA & EPA

The two important components of omega-3 are DHA and EPA. There is overwhelming evidence that both are of great benefit.

Omega-3 is also available from  sources other than fish (vegetarian) such as walnuts, flax, chia and pumpkin seed oils, soy products and dark green leafy vegetables. But these sources contain Alpha- Linolenic Acid (ALA) rather than DHA or EPA. This needs to be converted in the body and in many, many people, especially the elderly, this conversion is very inefficient and so these are not a reliable source.

But omega-3 from vegetarian sources is a better option than no omega-3 at all.

 

Omega-3 Daily Requrements

For the recommended requirements of omega-3 for Australian adults look here although be aware that stress or disease will modify your needs.

 

Fish Oil Supplements

If you do choose fish oil supplements there are a number of important things to consider about the particular omega-3 supplement you are considering before you start taking it.

Here are a few  guidelines that may help:

  • When choosing fish oil supplements be very careful of the quality. You get what you pay for. Many fish oil supplements are poor quality and capsules can contain rancid oil. Not only will this not help your health, it can actually make it worse, because rancid oil forms free radicals which cause inflammation that leads to disease.
  • Many fish oil supplements are made from farmed fish (see the problems associated with this above)
  • Check the levels of DHA and EPA as these will vary with each product and get one which has 2-3 times more DHA than EPA. It is difficult for the body to convert EPA to DHA.
  • Taking just one or two capsules each day is unlikely to supply you with enough of the omega-3 you need and you will most likely need many more than this. Taking the supplement in a liquid form is a better way to get an adequate amount.
  • Cod Liver Oil is a good way to get the omega-3 EFA’s you need as well as Vitamin D and Vitamin A. These days these oils are often fruit flavoured without the fishy taste of days-gone-by.
  • Many fish oils contain high levels of contaminants such as mercury or PCB’s. Try and source impeccable supplies.
  • If you are using Krill Oil consider that Krill fishing has already been banned or strictly limited in some areas due to the ecological impact. Fish oil is more sustainable.

 

 

And Now To Totally Change The Subject…Nuts!

almonds

I hear you asking “so where do nuts come into all this”?

Nuts, especially walnuts, are another great food source of omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9. Because high heat, light, and oxygen destroy EFAs,  when you eat nuts for their EFA content, choose raw nuts rather than roasted nuts.

Last week I promised a blog follower a GREAT RECIPE for ALMOND MILK so here it is.

Of course it is not for anyone with nut allergies.

Home made almond milk is a wonderful substitute for dairy milk. It is quite nutritious, being high in protein and of course healthy fats. It also contains fibre, Vitamin E, the minerals phosphorous,  copper, selenium and calcium, the amino acid tryptophan, as well as flavonoids. In addition it has no cholesterol. It has a slightly nutty taste and a creamy texture and the flavour is lighter than soy or rice milk.

Almond milk is now widely available through supermarkets as well as health food shops, but is pricey and some brands are sweetened. A number of brands have a very low percentage of almonds in them, which greatly reduces their nutrient value. By making your own nut milk you can increase the nut content and so the nutrients, dramatically.

Almond milk is good cold, in tea or coffee, smoothies and can also be used for cooking items like cakes or soups. I use it, but in small quantities and so often end up throwing quite a lot out which means making my own is a great option.

 

Almond Milk Recipe

Almon milk is easy to make and you can make it in just the quantity that you need. Here is how:

  • Soak 1 cup of fresh, raw almonds in filtered water overnight. Make sure there’s extra water to allow room for swelling.
  • Remove the almonds from the water.
  • For a less gritty texture, remove the skins. If you want a richer flavour toast the skins lightly.
  • Place the cup of almonds in a blender with 2 cups of filtered water and blend on high speed until creamy.
  • Add flavouring like cinnamon, honey, cardamom, saffron or a pinch of sea salt and then blend again, if you like.
  • Strain the mixture through cheesecloth or a fine strainer to separate the pulp.
  • You can drink it immediately or for a creamier version, leave it covered in the fridge overnight. It keeps in the fridge for up to a week.
  • The remaining pulp can then be roasted dry and stored in a jar to use as almond flour.
  • Or you could place the almond skins and the pulp in cheesecloth to use as an invigorating body scrub.

 

Disclaimer.

All information and opinions presented here are for information only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before trying any of the treatment suggested on this site. 

Source articles:

http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2009/s2766962.htm

http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=84

http://www.naturalnews.com/035948_omega-3_inflammation_disease_prevention.html

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/what-to-know-about-omega-3s-and-fish

http://www.mcvitamins.com/essential%20fatty%20acids.htm

http://goodfats.pamrotella.com/

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/ipad/the-pros-and-cons-of-almond-milk/story-fn6jaj16-1225984312290