Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety are being discussed more openly than ever before, and that is wonderful! When we’re willing to talk, treatment and therapy may be able to help. Mental health is also being understood better than ever before – this includes the triggers and catalysts that can cause depression or anxiety.
Some of these triggers are chemical, some hereditary, and some a response to external events and environments. But did you know that nutritional deficiencies can contribute to depression and anxiety? Discussing your mental health issues along with your nutritional habits may reveal some deficiencies and possible avenues to remedy these deficiencies.
Nutrition That Impacts Depression
While your body and brain require more than 40 nutrients for optimal health and function, there are a few key players in battling mental health disorders.
Vitamin D. Often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” a deficiency in Vitamin D has been repeatedly linked to depression and dementia. Vitamin D deficiencies are more pronounced in the winter months. Shorter days and dreary weather reduce not only the hours sunlight is available, but the amount of time people spend absorbing Vitamin D from the sun. A condition known as SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, is a recognized type of depression often brought on by changes in the seasons. Shop Vitamin D-3.
B Vitamins. The B Vitamin complex includes B3, B6, B12, folate and more. Study after study has shown B vitamins contribute to reduced symptoms among patients diagnosed with depression, while also affecting mood. Needless to say, ensuring you aren’t experiencing a B Vitamin deficiency is important for your mental health.
Zinc. Zinc is one of the most critical minerals for your health. Not only does it impact your immune system, but it is used by more enzymes in your body than any other mineral. Zinc is essential to many of your body’s systems. A deficiency in zinc can contribute to lowered immunity, food allergies, inflammation, mood disorders and anxiety.
Magnesium. Who knew there was a mineral nicknamed the “stress antidote?” Magnesium contributes to relaxation and mental well-being. The converse is that a deficiency increases stress, anxiety, worry and depression. Lifestyle choices may contribute to a magnesium deficiency; these include excessive alcohol, salt, sugar and caffeine. Shop Magnesium Complex.
Filling in the Nutritional Gaps
Because these deficiencies can so significantly impact depression and anxiety, it’s important to fill in the nutritional gaps. Fortunately, there are some delicious ways to reduce the deficiency.
Fatty fishes, such as salmon and mackerel, are excellent sources of Vitamin D. Fortified products such as milk or orange juice may also close the gap. The best source of the sunshine vitamin is, indeed, sunshine. Try to get a little natural light every day. If that’s not possible, using a light box or light therapy may also help. Vitamin D supplementation is also an option.
B Vitamins can be found in dark leafy green vegetables, chicken and other poultry, bananas, and seafood, including shellfish such as clams, mussels and crabs. Beans and legumes are another excellent source, especially for vegetarians.
Your body does not store Zinc. Whatever is not used is flushed out of the body on a daily basis. This means you need a daily source and supply of zinc. Fortunately, zinc is found in adequate amounts in numerous food sources, including meat, nuts, seeds, legumes, eggs, dairy and even dark chocolate.
What are the best natural sources for that wonderful relaxation mineral Magnesium? Think Popeye… spinach (and other dark leafy greens) for an excellent source of magnesium. Other delicious sources include tuna and salmon, avocado, edamame, dark chocolate, nuts, seeds, tofu and bananas. A Magnesium Complex supplement can also help!
Nutrition and Depression
Hopefully you see many foods you’re willing to eat that overlap in providing nutrients that can help manage or reduce depression and anxiety. Filling in the deficiencies in your nutritional choices could be an added piece to the puzzle in stabilizing mental health. If you need a multivitamin/multimineral supplement to help, try Neuro Vite Plus, a delicious easy-to-mix powder that you can use daily to meet nutritional needs.
At BIPRI, we recognize the critical link between nutrition and good mental health. We’re here to answer any questions you may have. Also, use our subscribe and save feature (available on all supplements): for a limited time we are offering 15% off plus a 15-minute consultation with our Clinic Director.