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This is the ninth in a series of posts about depression and more importantly, how we can take steps to hopefully keep it under control.
After I was diagnosed with depression, I was convinced I could limit both the frequency of my ‘bad’ days, and also the severity of those days. I researched everything I could about how other sufferers deal with their condition, and listed all the advice I thought could work for me. This resulted in fifteen steps, which I’m covering over fifteen weeks, and this is number nine.
Step 9 – Bag of Spinach hard to Swallow?
AKA – Herbs, Minerals, and Supplements
There’s evidence to suggest that adding supplements to our diet can improve mental health. People lacking in iron, for example, often sense weakness and fatigue, amongst other signs. If someone is deficient in iron, taking an iron tablet can bring them back to a healthy level. I speak from personal experience on this one.
A lack of zinc in the diet makes us more susceptible to infection, can thin hair, and can even impair hearing. Adding a zinc supplement can ease these symptoms.
Certain minerals relieve depression. The best known is St John’s wort, used for centuries to treat many conditions, including mental illness.
You’ve probably heard of omega 3 fatty acids – they’ve had a lot of press attention in recent years. Adding them to our diets is thought to improve brain function.
B vitamins, in particular B12 and B6, are important for brain health. They help produce chemicals that influence our moods. Low levels are known to cause depression.
Vitamin D, known as the sunshine vitamin, may help reduce symptoms. As with vitamin B, not getting enough vitamin D is linked with mental illness. Exposing our bodies to sunlight is a great way of getting this nutrient, as well as eating foods such as eggs, sardines, and cod liver oil.
Referring back to point 7 – nutrition overhaul – remember we can add foods to our diet rich in these minerals and nutrients, although taking a tablet is more convenient.
Believe me, an iron pill is far easier than a bag of spinach.
There are confusing signals with herbs, vitamins, and supplements. Many sources claim they help; others dismiss them as folklore. A few are banned in the US but freely available in Europe and vice versa. The above are examples of the popular remedies, but there are lots more. Do your own research – what works for me may not for you.
Step 10 – Bacteria is Good!
AKA – Improve Gut Health
You can read about my hike across Scotland, while coming to terms with the fact I had depression, in my latest book – High and Low. Just click on the image for details.