Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fighting Depression Without Medication

Fighting depression without medication by using holistic health principles is an effective option currently in use by many natural health care providers. Of course, the severity of your symptoms will determine the best course of action. For relatively mild depression, self management may be an option. Disabling symptoms will most likely need professional assistance.

If symptom self-management is an option for you, some available avenues to explore are:

  • foods that help depression

  • nutritional supplements and herbal remedies

Depression often involves both physical and psychological issues. A complete physical exam may be in order if you've not had one in a while. This will help give you a base line starting place and hopefully will detect any low-level infections that may be causing problems.

Diet and digestive health are very influential when experiencing depression and/or anxiety. Current research is revealing that the stomach and intestines have a very sensitive neural network called the enteric nervous system. Some researchers are calling this complex nervous system "the second brain" because of it's extensive neural pathways.

You've no doubt noticed how stress and negative emotions can "hit you in the gut." This is an example of the second brain in action. If our lives are hectic and fast paced with little time to relax, the stress will tend to build up in the abdominal area which can cause indigestion, acid reflux and many other issues.

This situation can be aggravated by processed foods that contain artificial additives that may cause an allergic irritation. In fighting depression without medication, modifying diet is a very effective way to ease symptoms. Some things that may be helpful are:

1. As much as possible, switch from processed food to natural, organic food. If you have little time for preparing food, many grocery stores have health food sections where you can even find ready made prepared foods.

2. Check for possible food allergies or sensitivities. Some common allergens include, refined sugar, highly processed fats (trans fats), dairy products, grains (gluten).

3. If hypoglycemia is involved in your symptoms try to get adequate protein and healthy fats consistently with your meals. For guidelines on recommended carbohydrate, protein and fat ratios, see The Zone diet or another variation.

Depression and Anxiety Supplements and Herbal Remedies

Herbal remedies and nutritional supplements can be very helpful for depression. Herbs like St. John's wort and passionflower work well in combination and are easily the most popular herbs used for mood issues. These herbs are especially good if insomnia is an issue.

A high quality multi-vitamin supplement with recommended amounts of antioxidants, minerals and B vitamins is recommended. Other supplements that are proving helpful for depression are Omega three fatty acids found in oils like fish, flax and borage oil.

Amino acids are essential nutrients and even more so if you're depressed. Dietary protein provides amino acids and supplements like 5-HTP can be helpful too. If you're on any prescription medication, be sure to consult your health care provider before starting any new nutritional supplements.

Fighting depression without medication will involve a holistic approach that considers all areas of life. Diet, exercise, adequate rest and relaxation are all important areas to bring into balance. A natural health care provider may also be helpful to provide guidance and an objective assessment of your condition.

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