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Depression – 

eat your way back to happy again

Want to eat your way back to happy again then natural remedies for depression are going to get you there! I’ll bet you never thought it would be that easy! But it is. And we can get you back to your good old self again.

Serious chronic depression can be a life compromising and life threatening debility. One should always consult a qualified medical practitioner when attempting to go integrate an herb or any natural approach as an alternative to prescribed medications.


In this article we are going to actually get YOU better than YOU have ever been before by using FOOD MEDICINE! Are YOU ready! Let’s get started.

“If food can have an enormous effect on heart disease, cancer, arthritis and digestive problems – the so called chronic diseases of western civilization – why can’t we influence how our brain works”?
Food your miracle medicine By: Jean Carper.

Statistics from the New Zealand Health Survey

1 in 6 adults will experience depression at some stage in their life according to the 2012/13 New Zealand Health Survey.
That’s (16%, or an estimated 582,000 adults) had been diagnosed with a common mental disorder at some time in their lives (including depression, bipolar disorder and/or anxiety disorder).
The highest rates for women were from 35 – 44 years of age (23.8%) and for men were from 45 – 55 years of age (15.5%).
Six percent of New Zealand adults, or more than 200,000 adults, experienced psychological distress in the last four weeks.
If you are feeling depressed the first place to go for help is……
The very first place to go to determine whether you are feeling depressed or merely glum, is to the professionals. I highly recommend getting on line and starting here
Take the self-test with JK and find out your results. Most importantly “TAKE ACTION! “
Acquaint yourself with what causes depression, find ways to combat depression and find ways to staying well. The sooner you get help, the sooner you can get back to enjoying life.

Self-help techniques are a great way to take control of your mental health.
By taking control you can identify what troubles you and willfully change that negative feeling to a positive one. Staying positive, with practice, you can gradually deliberately detect your emotions and modify your responses. Educating yourself about depression is going to help you understand, recognize and resist depression. 

Caution: Serious chronic depression can be a life compromising and life threatening debility. One should always consult a qualified medical practitioner when attempting to go integrate an herb or any natural approach as an alternative to prescribed medications.
5 Easy ways to beat Depression.

According to The New Zealand Mental health foundation.

Well-being is enhanced when people:

1/ Connect – talk and listen, be there, feel connected

Often when depressed, people tend to isolate themselves, which is the exact opposite of what they should be doing.
According to the New Zealand Mental Health Foundation there is a steady increase in well-being when people connect more often.
People who connect with friends and family several times per week are on average 7% happier than people who connect less than once a month.
2/ Give – your time, your words, your presence

New Zealanders rank highly for generosity on the international stage ranking 2nd equal with Canada and second only to America.
NZ Mental Health Foundation statistics say, giving can increase your well-being by whopping 22%.
Interestingly the more that people give the more satisfaction and wellbeing they receive.
Giving is a great antidepressant!
3/ Take notice – remember the simple things that give you joy

Take time to listen to the birds, soak up some sunshine and appreciate your surroundings in this very moment.

Growing evidence suggests that mindfulness can produce positive life changes by reducing stress, illness, pain and anxiety.
According to Grant Rix promoter for the Mental Health Foundation:
“Mindfulness has been shown to benefit our brains to such an extent that we can feel calmer, more aware, have an increased ability to focus and concentrate, remember things better and feel happier.”
– NZ Mental Health Foundation Press Release July 2012
Mindfulness teaches you to focus on the present, to calm your mind and body, accept and relish the present rather than rehashing the past and worrying about the future.
Mindfulness meditation fosters compassion and altruism.
The word meditation in Tibetan language means familiarization.
To create Intimacy, Awareness, Gratitude and Appreciation of BEING.
Jon Kabat-Zinn founder of the Mindfulness – Based Stress Reduction Program, emphasizes that although mindfulness can be cultivated through formal meditation, that’s not the only way.
“It’s not really about sitting in the full lotus, like pretending you’re a statue in a British museum,” he says in this Greater Good video. “It’s about living your life as if it really mattered, moment by moment by moment by moment.”
And you can check out Jon’s video series HERE.

4/ Keep learning – embrace new experiences, see opportunities, surprise yourself

A survey showed that taking part in courses boosted peoples’ confidence.
Their ability to learn, to use their skills, and to speak – with whanau, friends and at work – as well as their participation levels in solving problems, helping others, and taking control of their lives improved notably.
People’s well-being increased as they learned new things more often.
People who learned a great deal had an average well-being score of 47.6, compared with 27.0 for people who never learned new things.
5/ Be active – do what you can, enjoy what you do, move your mood

People’s well-being increases with even small boosts in activity levels.
People who engage in high levels of exercise have an average well-being score of 47.1, compared with 42.8 for people with very low levels of exercise.
Even low levels of exercise boosted well-being to 45%.
Getting out and taking a daily walk, breathing deeply, taking in the scenery and enjoying the present moment will have remarkable results on your well-being.

Now that you know these 5 techniques for addressing and reducing depression practice them every day because as your depression eases - your love of life increases.
You only have one life to live and these practices will help make it the best life possible. 

NOTE: The latest research considers exercise the best way to combat depression. Exercise works better than medications some researchers say.
What causes Depression?

Serotonin known as the cuddly, happy or feel good hormone seems to be low or wanting in people who are depressed. Researchers have found people with depression show a reduced hippocampus, the region of the brain that regulates emotions.Its production begins with tryptophan a building block to proteins.
Cells use tryptophan hydroxylase, a chemical reactor and tryptophan to make 5- hydroxytryptamine otherwise known as serotonin. Acting as a neurotransmitter in the brain serotonin relays messages from one area of the brain to another. You will find 90% of our supply of serotonin in the digestive tract and blood platelets. Because of its extensive distribution of cells in the body, serotonin influences a number of functions from psychological, mood, appetite, sleep, memory, learning, temperature regulation, social behaviour as well as cardiovascular function, endocrine function and muscle function.
Negative thoughts can actually trigger depression and depression can be quite sinister in that it can “feed on itself”.
What are some other causes of Depression?

Significant events: Good or bad.

Starting a new job. Losing a job. Getting married. Getting divorced. Moving house. Retiring. Physical or sexual abuse. Historical abuse. Loss. Sorrow or death of a loved one.  Conflicts and disputes.

Genetics: It is possible to inherit a tendency towards depression a family history of depression may increase your risk.

Serious illness: Depression can be a reaction or triggered during a severe illness.

Prescription Drug Medication: Accutane used to treat acne and antiviral drugs such as interferon or corticosteroids can increase your risk of depression.

Substance abuse: Alcohol and illicit drugs can cause major or clinical depression in nearly 30% of substance abuse problems.

 How important is diet in reducing Depression?

No surprises here guys!

 A diet of fast foods and skipping meals can make you depressed.

Those who regularly eat junk-food: takeaways, processed meals, chippies, lollies, cakes and biscuits are almost 60% more likely to suffer depression than those who eat a whole food diet of fresh fruit, vegetables and fresh cuts of meat and fish.
Regular meals are just as important to avoid the highs and lows of skipping meals during the day.

“A child who has come home, has potato chips and coke in the afternoon, pizza with little or no cheese on it for dinner and ice cream for dessert has been priming himself with carbohydrates for several hours. When it comes time to do homework, that child will have difficulty because of sleepiness and lethargy”. – Judith Wurtman, researcher at MIT
Skipping meals can actually stress your body unnecessarily? 

Researchers from the University of Missouri used MRI scans to compare the brain activity of teenagers who ate a high-protein breakfast compared to teenagers who skipped breakfast or ate a breakfast low in protein.
The MRI scans showed that those who ate the high-protein breakfast experienced less brain activity in regions that control food motivation, or hunger, than those who ate cereal for breakfast.
The researchers concluded that having a breakfast rich in protein can help you stay fuller for longer. 

Leaky gut can cause depression

 The gut brain connection is very real. Ever had bad news and the first thing to happen is your tummy gets upset? This is a natural reaction. Leaky gut may be the problem. When the gut is leaky, particles, proteins and toxins can enter the blood stream and travel anywhere in the body and cause inflammation. Depression is an inflammatory disease and when the immune system has been activated the first thing it does is send out cytokines which produce inflammation as part of the first line of defense. Something is wrong and the immune system is alerted and jumps into action. If the particles get to the brain depression can occur. One of the first areas to pay attention to when you are depressed or anxious is the gut, because when you repair a leaky gut more often than not anxiety and depression can disappear. But what if you don't have leaky gut what could be the problem? 

Diet! A diet of fast foods and processed food is generally very acidic and inflammatory, because many of the man made chemical ingredients are not recognized by our immune system as safe, or known. 

Household cleaners, cosmetics and common weed killers also harbor germ killing and synthetic  ingredients that harm your gut bacteria. Consider removing anything from your home that "kills germs fast" or has a skull and crossbones symbol. Replace with environmentally friendly products instead. And if you are worried about germs a simple recipe I use is 12 drops of Lavender essential oil in a spray bottle of water (aprox 500mls). Spray around the home surfaces and over your pillow for a good nights sleep and it's antiseptic qualities.

The good news is nature has simple, harmless and matchless alternatives to mans folly. Changing your diet and avoiding inflammatory foods is as easy as "fresh is best forget the rest". Meaning eat only whole foods period. If I'm talking grains -organic whole grains. fresh whole cuts of grass fed beef, fresh fish, fresh poultry, fresh vegetables, fresh fruit preferably from your garden to your plate. Grown organically allowing nature to nurture your plants with seaweed fertilizers, which promote strong pest resistant plants. OR

Eat apples. Start by eating 2 apples a day. Just two apples a day (organic of course) can help regulate a leaky gut by reducing inflammation and improving beneficial gut bacteria. Increase prebiotic foods: onions, leaks, garlic, dandelions, asparagus are all prebiotic foods that feed healthy gut bacteria. Take probiotics, fermented foods and increase cruciferous vegetables ( cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower) to increase good bacteria in the gut.  Bone broths heal a leaky gut and provide optimal nutrients and easy assimilation. 

Start with a Wholesome Breakfast.

Oats or porridge is the best start possible.
Bacon and eggs also make the list because both contain protein and protein can give you a great start to your day.
Helping you to wake up in the morning a good protein rich breakfast can optimize your brain’s ability to send messages to the rest of your body.
When combining protein with complex carbohydrates, your body will gradually digest your breakfast, keeping you energized and satisfied until lunchtime.
Protein provides the amino acids your brain needs to function at optimal levels for alertness.
Oats contain at least 7 essential Amino Acids:
Tryptophan – sourced from our food a precursor for making serotonin in the body.
Threonine – is used in the body to treat various nervous system disorders
Isoleucine – aids muscle function, energy, formation of hemoglobin
Leucine – utilized in the liver, burned by muscle for fuel, weight control
Lysine – helps reduce stress and anxiety, could help blood sugar levels especially in diabetes
Methionine – protects the liver, reduces depression, allergies, asthma, schizophrenia, alcoholism, drug withdrawal more
Cysteine – a powerful antioxidant, used to reduce depression, bipolar disorder, breathing problems, lung disorders more
A high-complex carbohydrate meal increases your brain’s tryptophan levels, creating serotonin that makes you feel relaxed.
A morning meal high in protein also raises your brain’s tyrosine levels.
This helps your brain produce neurotransmitters called norepinephrine and dopamine, which give you energy and make you feel Awake and Alert.
Researcher Dr Eric Brunner from University College London said:
“There seems to be various aspects of lifestyle such as taking exercise which also matter, but it appears that diet is playing an independent role”
The study, in the British Journal of Psychiatry, used data on 3,486 male and female civil servants aged around 55.
Each participant completed a questionnaire about their eating habits and a self-report assessment for depression five years later.
The researchers suggest several reasons for the protective effect of a healthy diet.
They found that those with the highest consumption of processed food were a massive 58 % more likely to be depressed five years later than those eating the least amount.

Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables protect against Depression.
 Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables protect against depression, as does the folate found in broccoli, cabbage, spinach, lentils and chickpeas.
For more information on foods that help reduce depression check out:
999 foods high in Tryptophan
Herbs that help Reduce Depression

A/ Ashwagandha – Withania Somnifera – Winter Cherry or Indian Ginseng

Withania is one of my favourite herbs and I have used it often personally and in practice with great results.

Found in the drier parts of subtropical India this shrub has been used in traditional medicine for more than 3000 years.
Parts used: the root.
Medical uses:
Withania is an important herb because rather than being over-stimulating it has a sedative effect.
Thus is very good for people who are “stressed out”.
Particularly used for debility and nervous exhaustion especially due to stress.
Anaemia and emaciation especially in children.
Convalescence after acute illness or extreme stress.
Chronic diseases especially if inflammatory in nature e.g. connective tissue diseases.
Impotence due to devitalisation.
May have some preventative role in cancer, especially the whole plant and leaves.
Good general tonic for disease prevention in athletes, elderly and during pregnancy.
Known as a tonic withania is a nervine sedative, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour (in high doses) and an adaptogen.
Clinical trials:

Withania given in milk significantly increased total body weight, total plasma proteins, mean corpuscular haemoglobin and hand grip in a double blind trial on 58 normal children (8 – 12 years old).
The fortified milk was recommended for all age groups especially for children.
In a double blind trial for 1 year Withania was tested on the process of ageing in 101 healthy male adults (50 – 59 years old).
A significant improvement in hemoglobin, red blood cell count, hair melanin and seated stature was observed. Serum cholesterol decreased and nail calcium was preserved.
Eryrocyte sedimentation rate (or ESR) decreased significantly and 71.4% of those treated reported improvement in sexual performance.
Reference: Clinical applications of Ayurvedic and Chinese Herbs. By: Kerry Bone.
Note: The erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), also called a sedimentation rate or Westergren ESR. Is the rate at which red blood cells sediment in a period of one hour. It is a common haematology test, and is a non-specific measure of inflammation.
 B/ Passion flower – Passiflora incarnata,

A plant that provides goodness to both mind and body traditionally passion flower was used to treat restlessness, indigestion and agitation.
Today passion flower is used for insomnia, indigestion and anxiety.
Passion flower mellows you out by increasing brain levels of a chemical called GABA which lowers your brain activity thus allowing you to relax and sleep.

C/ Chamomile: German Chamomile (Chamomilla recutita) and Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile).

Chamomile has been frequently used as a mild sedative to calm nerves and reduce anxiety.
 Also known to treat hysteria, nightmares, insomnia and other sleep problems.
Chamomile is valued as a digestive aid to treat gastrointestinal disturbances including indigestion, anorexia, motion sickness, nausea, and vomiting.
Soothing to the stomach, and relaxing the muscles that move food through the intestines.
Traditionally, chamomile tea preparations and essential oil aromatherapy have been used to treat insomnia and to induce sedation (calming effects).
Chamomile is widely regarded as a mild tranquillizer and sleep-inducer.
Taken during the day will ensure a good night’s sleep and optimize digestion but it will not make you sleep until night time.
Studies in pre-clinical models have shown anti-convulsant and CNS depressant effects respectively.
Chamomile extracts exhibit benzodiazepine-like hypnotic activity.
Chamomile has been reported in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
For more on chamomile.
D/ St Johns Wort – Hypericum perforatum

St Johns Wort – Hypericum perforatum –
St Johns Wort is a very common weed in New Zealand in tussock, grasslands, pasture, roadsides, river beds and waste lands.
It is declared a noxious weed because it causes severe photo-sensitivity in the stock that eat it.
Known as a relaxant for the nervous system st Johns Wort is used for depression, anxiety, neuroses, excitability and neuralgia including shingles and sciatica.
As an antidepressant st Johns Wort has been found to be more effective than benzodiazepine and diazepam.
Treatment of mild and major depression st Johns Wort appears to have no adverse mental or physical affects.
It is not suggested that st Johns Wort is a suitable treatment for severe depression with psychosis and where there is a risk of suicide, but it may be a useful adjunct to orthodox measures.
Hey! Do you or a friend suffer from Depression?  Want more? Well I have a PRESENT for you! Check this out! You can instantly download this article for FREE HERE. And easily share it with a friend. I think you’ll love it. xoxo –Debbie
E/ Albizia julibrissin “The Tree of Happiness”

The Tree of Happiness Albizia julibrissin is used in Chinese medicine for stress, anxiety and mild depression. This remarkable tree looks magnificent in the garden and the bark and flowers are the main part used in traditional medicine.

Known as “herbal Prozac” Albizia julibrissin has been used since the 2nd century to enhance mood, for calming nerves and as a tonic. The bark is thought to ‘anchor’ the spirit, while the flowers lighten it.
According to the Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica. Albizia is used primarily for insomnia, poor memory, irritability and angry feelings due to constrained emotions ‘“ especially when accompanied by epigastric pain and feelings of pressure in the chest. Secondarily, the bark is regarded as one of the most important herbs for the treatment of external trauma and injuries. It promotes blood circulation, reduces pain and swelling, promotes the regeneration of flesh and facilitates the healing of bone fractures. For more information on “herbal Prozac” click HERE

Serious chronic depression can be a life compromising and life threatening debility. One should always consult a qualified medical practitioner when attempting to go integrate an herb or any natural approach as an alternative to prescribed medications.
 I hope you enjoyed this article and now have a food medicine arsenal to attack and cure depression for good.
 Do you have any natural remedies to share with our readers to help combat depression?
If so we would love to hear from YOU.




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