Could Low Carb be the anti depression diet? While I have not suffered severe depression, my personal experience has been an improvement in mood as I’ve eased into a higher protein and fat, lower carb diet. Depression is a complex condition – diet is proving to be one factor.
A strong link between depression and insulin resistance has been established. Although research is still in its infancy, it’s known that many depressed individuals are carb-addicted. Carbs do raise the level of serotonin, one of the mood-related neurotransitters, but when this quick fix wears off, you’ve merely exacerbated the problem.
Please consider Dr. Joseph Mercola’s Key Factors to Overcoming Depression, excerpted below, highlighting the importance of food and nutrition in fighting depression.
Is Low Carb the Anti Depression Diet?
Fortunately, research confirms that there are safe and effective ways to address depression that do not involve unsafe drugs, including:
- Dramatically decrease your consumption of sugar (particularly fructose), grains, and processed foods. (In addition to being high in sugar and grains, processed foods also contain a variety of additives that can affect your brain function and mental state, especially MSG, and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame.) There’s a great book on this subject, Sugar Blues, written by William Dufty more than 30 years ago, that delves into the topic of sugar and mental health in great detail.
- Increase consumption of probiotic foods, such as fermented vegetables and kefir, to promote healthy gut flora. Mounting evidence tells us that having a healthy gut is profoundly important for both physical and mental health, and the latter can be severely impacted by an imbalance of intestinal bacteria.
- Get adequate vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 deficiency can contribute to depression and affects one in four people.
- Optimize your vitamin D levels, ideally through regular sun exposure. Vitamin D is very important for your mood. In one study, people with the lowest levels of vitamin D were found to be 11 times more prone to be depressed than those who had normal levels.The best way to get vitamin D is through exposure to SUNSHINE, not swallowing a tablet. Remember, SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a type of depression that we know is related to sunshine deficiency, so it would make sense that the perfect way to optimize your vitamin D is through sun exposure, or a safe tanning bed if you don’t have regular access to the sun.
- Get plenty of animal-based omega-3 fats. Many people don’t realize that their brain is 60 percent fat, but not just any fat. It is DHA, an animal based omega-3 fat which, along with EPA, is crucial for good brain function and mental health. Unfortunately, most people don’t get enough from diet alone. Make sure you take a high-quality omega-3 fat, such as krill oil. Dr. Stoll, a Harvard psychiatrist, was one of the early leaders in compiling the evidence supporting the use of animal based omega-3 fats for the treatment of depression. He wrote an excellent book that details his experience in this area called The Omega-3 Connection.
- Evaluate your salt intake. Sodium deficiency actually creates symptoms that are very much like those of depression. Make sure you do NOT use processed salt (regular table salt), however. You’ll want to use an all natural, unprocessed salt like Himalayan salt, which contains more than 80 different micronutrients.
Additionally, Dr. Mercola recommends exercise, adequate sleep, and the Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT. If you visit his article, you’ll also learn a frightening risk of using antidepressant medication: that you’ll convert from unipolar depression to bipolar depression. There has to be (and is!) a better way to heal depression than drugs.
I hope you’ll consider lifestyle changes, as well as Low Carb as the anti depression diet. Please share this important info via the buttons below!