In our stress-packed world, anxiety and depression are increasingly commonplace, and can affect everyone.
From schoolchildren trying to cope with the pressures of exams and growing up, to the older ones amongst us, dealing with life, work, and everything they throw at us.
While conventional medicine will direct you towards a cocktail of drugs, having the right diet is also essential for mental health.
Discover how delicious and nourishing detoxing foods can help you manage depression and anxiety, and feel happier, energetic and raring to go at life.
Pick up your mood with better proteins
Protein is an essential part of your daily diet, helping with essential body functions like repairing cells and boosting brain growth.
One of the most important part of your protein intake is getting the nine essential amino acids – proteins that your body can’t produce itself and has to get through the diet. Out of these, tryptophan plays an important role in your mental health, as it is converted into serotonin, the mood-stabilising agent.
Try plant-based sources of proteins to boost your tryptophan intake and give your body a headstart towards a better mood – delicious sources like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and peanuts are perfect to add variety into cereals, breads and biscuits, while spirulina and wheatgrass – both packed with all the essential amino acids – make a brilliant power-protein smoothie.
Whole grains to boost brain power
Did you know that whole grains like oats, spelt and quinoa are rich sources of folic acid and vital B vitamins?
These nutrients are essential for healthy brain development, promoting healthy nerves and improving brain functions like memory and concentration.
Whole grains are also good for your digestive system and prevent the crash-and-burn feeling you get with conventional refined carbs, giving you more energy, and leaving you feeling less bloated and lethargic.
They’re a great way to give you an energy boost, especially when you’re feeling tired and low.
Discover your new ‘comfort foods’
When you’re feeling down, it’s tempting to reach for typical comfort foods, packed with fats and sugars, but these often leave you feeling worse than before – leading to a vicious cycle.
Break out with delicious natural comfort foods that satisfy and make you feel good.
Raw cacao gives you a chocolately boost, without all the energy-sapping sugars. Stir into a raw brownie or chocolate cheesecake for a tasty treat. Whole nuts – like brazil nuts, almonds and pecans are packed with nutrients to boost your mood – perfect for guilt-free snacking.
Healthy fruits and vegetables aren’t just for ‘health geeks’ but are perfect to help all the family cope with life’s ups and downs.
Pick up some great tips on how to incorporate fresh foods into your diet with our great recipes – in surprisingly delicious ways! Another useful way to get an intensive introduction on boosting your health naturally in a detox retreat – check out some video testimonials before taking the plunge.
Besides food, exercise is important too
Everyone experiences bouts of stress, sadness, anxiety and/or depression throughout their lives.
According to the NHS, depression affects one in 10 men and women, both young and old as well as 4% of children in the UK.
With many treatments available through therapy, change of diet and lifestyle – interestingly, a study has shown that simply daily exercise can reduce stress and have a positive impact on moods in the long term.
Published in the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, the study found that much like antidepressant medication, “exercise also increases the synthesis of new neurons in the adult brain”, which improves overall mood.
The research paper also reviewed many other studies from the past, with one concluding that the antidepressant effects of exercise even surpass the treatment period and have long term results.
A recent study also confirmed that exercise has a significant positive effect on depression due to the endorphins released.
How much exercise should you do?
The NHS recommends:
- At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking every week, and
- strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).
Any type of exercise will do you a world of good, but the key is to find exercise you enjoy.
If you love 5am Crossfit sessions or boxing – then go ahead, but if yoga or swimming is more your style, then stick to that. It’s all about what works for you.
At Amchara Health Retreats we offer daily exercise and conditioning classes including guided walks at both our retreats in Somerset, UK and Gozo, Malta.
For more information on the programme – click here.
Depression Related Stories: