An estimated one in 10 Americans suffers from depression, and many of these people take prescription drugs to manage the disease they’ve been told is caused by a chemical imbalance. The truth is, doctors don’t know what causes the symptoms of depression, but they’ve grown accustomed to throwing Big Pharma solutions at it and hoping for the best. There are several problems with this, including the myriad of side effects associated with these drugs. Fortunately, there are several foods and herbs that can provide relief from depression without the costs—both financial and otherwise—of prescription drugs.
The spice of curries, turmeric is associated with a wealth of health benefits including the treatment of depression. One study in the journal Phytotherapy Research found not only that turmeric is effective in treating depression, but it was even more effective than Prozac. Other benefits include reduced risk of heart disease, reduced inflammation, and aiding in the regulation of diabetes.
Native to South America, cacao has been nicknamed the “Food of the Gods” and is known for its mood-boosting properties. It is able to trigger the production of dopamine and serotonin in the brain—important chemicals in mood regulation. In addition to boosting mood, cacao can also increase cognitive function or reduce the symptom known as “brain fog”.
Read: 5 Natural Solutions for Treating Depression
3. Vitamin D
Several studies have linked low vitamin D levels to depression. Just one of those many studies found “effective detection and treatment of inadequate vitamin D levels in persons with depression and other mental disorders may be an easy and cost-effective therapy which could improve patients’ long-term health outcomes as well as their quality of life”. Simply spend some time outdoors soaking up the sun.
Another South American superfood, maca is said to be able to reduce feelings of hopelessness associated with depression. The food’s phytoestrogen content is believed to play a role as they can help balance hormones. Maca is also known to increase energy levels as well, combating the low energy and lethargy that usually accompanies depression.
For many, depression is a normal emotional reaction to situational events. Things like a proper diet, regular exercise, and meditation can go a long ways in reducing your symptoms and helping you to cope with the events in your life.