The Link Between Diet and Depression
What we eat directly affects not only our physical health but our mental and emotional health also. When we are lacking in the right quantities of vitamins and minerals from fresh, unprocessed foods or are unable to absorb essential vitamins and minerals due to a poorly functioning body, we become more susceptible to conditions such as depression. Excessive congestion within the body, particularly in the colon, from unnatural and processed foods, that can leave us feeling lethargic, listless and emotionally out of balance. 90% of the serotonin in our bodies is located in the intestine so it follows that if our intestinal health is compromised from a poor diet, then the function of serotonin in the body (which includes regulating our moods) will be sacrificed. As a Colon Hydro-therapist, I can tell you that the majority of my clients are chronically constipated, and these same clients tend to find maintaining a balanced emotional and mental state very challenging.
We can go a long way towards healing depression (and countless other conditions) by correcting biochemical imbalances in the body through intelligent, gentle cleansing. The body functions perfectly when there are no physical and emotional blockages preventing it from doing so. Although treatment for depression typically centres on medication and treatment for the mind, it is important not to forget that the body works as a unified system of mind, body, spirit and emotion. No part of us works disparately and such treatment of depression should ideally not just focus on mental or emotional health. Working on improving the body’s physical wellbeing at the same time as emotional and mental wellbeing ensures all possible factors in the existence of the condition are addressed and promotes overall wellbeing/healing.
Improving your diet alone can have a dramatic impact on your health and wellbeing, including the improvement of symptoms of depression. The focus of your diet should be on fresh fruits and vegetables while anything that comes in a package, refined or processed foods, alcohol, or anything that contains sugar, sweeteners, food additives or preservatives should be minimised, if not avoided entirely. These foods are very harmful and highly addictive. Decade after decade of eating these foods changes our body’s chemistry and the waste which can not leave the body from these unnatural foods is stored in our tissues generating a whole host of problems which can contribute to depression. How can we feel carefree, light, balanced and happy when there is toxic waste residue sitting in our tissues preventing our bodies (including our brains) from functioning as they were designed to?
Beginning to physically clean and re-balance the body leads to a renewed state of health and a lifting of the severity of symptoms of depression. If nothing else, the increase in energy and vitality that comes with detoxifying the body increases the ability to address the emotional and mental reasons contributing to depression.
In combination with addressing emotional and mental health and wellbeing, providing an outlet for sufferers of depression to be truly heard and focusing on gentle yet effective detoxification and regeneration of the body through a clean, healthy diet, can together go a very long way towards healing depression.
Not only are unfit foods a contributing factor, so also is the time spent indoors in unnatural environments, breathing poor quality, stale air (not to mention the lack of attention to proper, deep breathing). Combine this with the sedentary lifestyle many of us lead with office jobs, cars to get us around and a general lack of energy for regular exercise and we have even more cause for the blues. Our bodies were designed to move and energy to flow through us freely but this is difficult if we aren’t helping our bodies to do this everyday. It is crucial that we support our bodies with frequent movement (stretching, yoga and Tai Chi are particularly beneficial) and quieting the mind, whether it be through meditation or yoga, taking a few minutes to focus on the breath or just practising focusing only on the current moment.