Depression and relationship with food
The Nutritional Expert at SHA Wellness Clinic, Lola García, explains the relationship between food and depression!
Autumn is in full swing and so is the possibility of treating emotional imbalances such as depression more effectively. This condition is defined as being the syndrome that is characterised by deep sadness. Currently it affects around 5.2% of the population in Spain and the number of cases has increased by 18.4% in ten years. The influence of diet in this factor, seems to be increasingly recognized. There is now a new branch of science: nutritional psychiatry that associates food, nutrients and the emotional states, which aims at correcting these imbalances or conditions.
With regard to energy food, depression, deep sadness, the desire to shut yourself away from society or the feeling of being isolated from the outside world, is related to the lungs and the large intestine, which are organs that are associated with autumn and Metal, together with the skin, which might be considered to be the second lung.
It is quite interesting to observe people suffering from depression, their arms fall limply at their sides and they sit down with their arms leaden, motionless, resting on their laps. Their posture is defensive; their shoulders are slumped forwards, which hinders the functions of the lungs. The lung and large intestine meridians run through the arms, which means that, if there is an imbalance, they become limp and weak, in fact these individuals might find it difficult to develop biceps or triceps.
It is essential for anyone who suffers from depression to get help from a good professional, an expert on the subject matter, which involves changing diet and lifestyle. Moreover the relationship with food is fundamental; a diet that is rich in food items that promote the production of serotonin is required. This is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep and appetite, balance moods and decrease pain. Seeing as approximately 95% of this is produced in the gastrointestinal tract, which has hundreds of millions of neurons, it makes sense that the internal functions of your digestive system not only help digest food, but they also affect your emotions. Various studies have been carried out on this that corroborate the importance of having basically a vegetarian or even vegan diet, seeing as cutting out dairy products from your diet, eating a moderate amount of fish, except tuna and salmon and excluding all other animal products can be beneficial.
Furthermore, in line with the important healthy microbiota, gut flora approach, fermented vegetables for example, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, are essential for the prevention and treatment of depression. However if these items are bought instead of making them at home it is very important to make sure that they do not contain sugar or vinegar and they are not pasteurized, because then, they would not be probiotic.
The food items that must be included in our diet and at least two of them every day are greens. We are not talking about lettuce, but rather leafier, denser greens from the cabbage family, which are readily available at this time of the year. They must be cooked for a short period of time, blanched or steamed, which makes them easier to digest and it minimizes the amount of vitamins lost.
The regular consumption of whole grains and especially round grain brown rice is essential to treat any kind of emotional imbalance with nutrition. Whole grains can be eaten practically every day and at SHA they are especially recommended for breakfast. Remember that they must be soaked for a minimum of five hours before being cooked.
Use many aromatic herbs and coloured vegetables to brighten up your dishes. A wok is a good option to cook these vegetables so that they give us the energy we need to get out of the depression deadlock we are trapped in.
Habits are also crucial when it comes to depression. Physical activity must be included in any type of therapy recommended. The most convenient is doing exercise outdoors, in places where there is plenty of oxygen, such as woods, beaches or parks, because oxygenation is an important part of helping to prevent lung disorders. Exercises that open the thoracic cavity and stimulate breathing, such as cardiovascular exercises should also be done.
Body scrubs are a good external treatment, as we explained in the “Post-Holiday Detox” post.
There are various oxygen bars at SHA where you can increase the amount of oxygen inhaled, which is highly recommended if you want to keep your lungs in 100% tip top condition.