Depression can be debilitating, as anyone who has suffered from it can attest. This condition, beyond causing a person to feel demotivated to do daily activities in life, depression can cause a person to feel hopeless, helpless, and passive.
For anyone who has dealt with this issue, the question becomes how to control depression and overcome it.
Andre’ Gide is credited with saying that “sadness is almost always a form of fatigue.” Certainly, depression can lead a person to sleep their life away, but personal observation will help you to begin to recognize that you have a tendency to be more pessimistic when tired, and, thus, getting some rest can improve your mood.
The weapon against depression that may surprise you, though, is in what you eat. Sugar and processed foods can have a detrimental impact on your mood, and, if your diet is regularly filled with foods that should be avoided, you make depression a more likely instance in your life.
The reason for this may have to do with the connection between the brain and the nerve bundle in your gut. This connection is made using the vagus nerve. Your brain and this nerve bundle in your gut were created from the same tissue during your fetal development. Dr. Mercola addresses some of the research on this connection:
“For example, researchers recently found that fermented foods helped curb social anxiety disorder in young adults.2,3 Another study4 found that mice engaged in obsessive-compulsive repetitive behaviors were pacified when given a strain of the bacterium Bacteroides fragilis.
Gut bacteria also produce mood-boosting neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). In fact, the greatest concentration of serotonin is found in your intestines, not your brain.”
Dr. Mercola goes on to say that refined sugar and processed fructose are primary culprits in dietary causes of depression because they “feed pathogens in your gut, allowing them to overtake more beneficial bacteria.” Additionally, high sugar content in a person’s diet has been linked with inflammation which impacts your mood and has a variety of other unpleasant health consequences.
To make the situation even worse,
“Sugar also suppresses the activity of a key growth hormone in your brain called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF levels are critically low in both depression and schizophrenia.”
“Last but not least, refined sugar and processed fructose and grains are key contributors to insulin and leptin resistance, which also plays a significant role in your mental health.”
In short, if you are feeling depressed, good places to start in your effort to fight this condition are to get a good night’s sleep (or, at least, take a nap) and avoid sugar and sweeteners in your diet. Your body and your mood will thank you.