Diet helps our brains overcome depression.
Let’s call it the “blues” for a moment. Injury, loss, isolation even for a short period of time can and will have an impact on anyone’s normally sunny disposition. Emotional changes is part and parcel of being injured. even when you just scratch yourself the nervous system kicks in and you have a physical and emotional reaction to it. We have all been there, we have all experienced it (I keep on wondering why those who run the workers comp system don’t have this in the forefront of their mind but… sorry, Friday morning post syndrome).
Having the “blues” is also part and parcel of being injured. Having a clinically defined psychological illness is always accompanied by the “blues”.
I imagine a few of our readers are beginning to reach for some handy fruit to throw at the screen after that comment- and that’s a good thing. Its a great thing, because reaching for a piece of fruit is probably one of the best things someone can do to help themselves overcome the intermittent blues.
I am an ex therapist – one of the suggestions I would make to a client after a counselling session is to have a small piece of chocolate, apart from the small laugh and smile that if you are a regular reader of this site you might surmise I enjoy receiving, the piece of chocolate contained two ingredients proven to assist with short term underwhelmed feelings (not short term depression, like a day or so- that doesn’t exist), the first is cocoa which has an smidgeon of a similar chemical that goes into your average anti-depressant medication. Now before you get excited about this you would have to eat enough chocolate, even in its pure form, to kill yourself through overdose (yes, chocolate is actually an extremely mild poison, approximately 10 kilograms without a break if your my size and weight).
The second ingredient in chocolate which gives a pleasant buzz is the sugar content. If you don’t realise by now that sugar gives you a high then your life experience probably means you are doing everything this article suggests you do and have been doing since birth thanks to your health conscious parents and probably a genetic intolerance to any “bad food”.
Sugar is a wonderful drug, immediately entering into the blood stream and pumping those pleasing chemicals into our brain like Louie Armstrong singing “what a wonderful world” in a you tube video of kittens playing with balls of string. Sugar is great – my lethal dose of chocolate would be much smaller if I didn’t enjoy the pleasing effects of sugar. The problem with chocolate and sugar is only this, the quicker it takes our bodies to ingest sugar, the quicker it leaves our system. Refined sugar (the chocolate type) doesn’t stay in our brains long enough to help us cope with anything other than a very short burst of feeling miffed – it can’t help with the blues and certainly does nothing for depression and if you suffer anxiety – avoid refined sugar, it will make your body react exactly the same way as a mild anxiety attack and you would never know the difference (and give up the coffee too, avoid coffee like it is was that two hour meeting with your manager you were only given 5 minutes notice for beforehand).
But sugar – not refined but natural sugar- is good for you if you are feeling “blue” to help you recover in the short term. An orange, banana, apple (just naming those fruits that I like here) strawberry, they contain a form of sugar that won’t give you that fast rush and even faster drop – it’s a sustained increase to the endorphins in your brain which is its system for making you feel better, it is also a gradual decline to normal levels. Which means if you do reach for that fruit to throw at my bad punning and casual use of language and eat it instead of throw it, you are likely not to want to throw it after all (and I will be forgiven).
There is one benefit that you will see very quickly if you do decrease your refined (in products) sugar intake and increase your fruit consumption. You will get those vitamins and minerals into the muscles that you need to drive your body more. Exercise decreases depression, That’s just a fact, but depression decreases motivation which decreases our willingness to exercise which decreases our muscle mass… (its a downward spiral). The natural state of our body is to get its energy from fruit and vegetables- increase this and you start to reverse that spiral.
No, you can’t replace your medication with a fruitarian diet (yes, it is a thing) but you can over time and with your doctor, hope to reduce the dosage as the fruit fulfils its rightful role in your diet and help you gain control of your energy and your emotional state.