Keep your mental health through food!

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Over 25 percent of women have dealt with some type of stress and/or depression. The sources of stress and depression can be hormonal issues, work, marriage, family life, as well as any type of any trauma. Giving birth also puts women at risk for stress and depression in the form of postpartum depression. When one thinks of stress and depression, the words pills, psychiatrist and counselor often comes into one’s mind. While those things have their place in the treatment of stress and depression, good nutrition also plays a role in subduing both stress and depression.

One mineral that assists with combating stress and depression is magnesium. Magnesium helps to improve mood and relieve stress and depression by helping the brain produce a chemical called serotonin. It also helps to nourish and calm the nervous system. Foods such as beans, bananas, nuts and dark leafy greens contain high sources of this mineral. B vitamins are also essential for good mental health. B vitamins help the nervous system to function properly and are also known as anti-stress vitamins. Foods such as eggs, dairy products, whole grains, and legumes are high in vitamin B. Fatty acids in the form of Omega 3s are also helpful. Omega 3 fatty acids are important for proper brain and behavioral functions. Omega 3 fatty acids are found in foods such as salmon, tuna, fish oils, leafy greens and seeds (such as sunflower seeds).

Consuming foods high in these essential vitamins and minerals will help to keep stress and depression at bay. However if the feelings of stress and depression stay the same or get worse, then professional help should be sought. If thoughts of suicide occur, emergency medical help should be sought immediately. There are many resources for professional help such as counselors and hot lines, if one is having a hard time battling stress and depression.

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  • Dan Canfield
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