Serotonin – something we all want more of for our kids, our partners and ourselves.
With 1 in 6 Australians– 1 in 5 women and 1 in 8 men suffering from depression¹ we should be society seeking out all the tools we can put in our ‘wellness kit’ to reduce of the risk factors associated with this debilitating mental condition.
Michele Chevalley Hedge, qualified nutritionist, has been researching the effects of food, mood, anxiety and depression for many years. Hedge says, “The article released this week in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, High glycaemic index diet as a risk factor for Depression, should be sending off flares of hope to doctors, counsellors, and those who are not able to perform their daily functions due to depression and mental health disorders.”
Food certainly isn’t the only risk factor in depression, but this article coupled with the recent Lancet article, Nutritional medicine as mainstream in psychiatry should have adults and teenagers thinking about how diet could be a useful tool in improving mental health.
Serotonin is that neurotransmitter that influences our brain cells related to mood, sexual desire and function, appetite and sleep. Modern day drugs for treating depression are called SSRI, serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitors, may be more effective if a person is eating a whole food diet without processed, sugary foods.
- How to create a good mood lunchbox
- Get your child on the right track: five tips for healthy snacking
When a diet is full of grab and go snacks and meals we are often not getting the protein and the Vitamin B’s that we need for our bodies to make the natural conversation from tryptophan to serotonin.
Five key ways to improve your moods and increase your happy hormones:
- Dump the junk. Sugary foods and high GI foods are crowding out the room for meals that are rich in protein and Vitamins B’s, the two key components for serotonin.
- Add the grain. Occasional grains, like brown rice and quinoa are a rich source of vitamin B. Vitamin B is also our energy vitamin, without energy, it is easy to become depressed.
- Eat clean. A diet full of whole foods doesn’t contain added sugar. Excess sugar can cause digestive issues like candida, IBS, and leaky gut. Not good when more than 75 % of our serotonin is made in our gut.
- Zinc it up. Zinc deficiency has been linked to increased depressive symptoms. Pumpkin and sesame seeds are high in zinc and easy foods to sprinkle on salad, yoghurt or to toss into a smoothie.
- Embrace fat. The brain is made up largely of fat. Omega-3 fatty acids can provide a range of neurochemical activities and mood disorders. Salmon, walnuts, sardines olives, avocado are some of the highest source of omega 3 foods.