March 08, 2022 5 min read

Depression sucks. 

And let us be clear, what we’re about to suggest may not be enough of a solution. We are in no way suggesting that food and/or supplements alone are the answer to depression. 

Sometimes, talk therapy, exercise, and even prescription drugs are required to lift the fog. 

Even so, we believe food and natural solutions are far more powerful than the general medical community understands. 

So in this article we’re going to talk about how you can use food to fight depression. 

With that said, if you or someone you know is suffering from depression, please know you are NOT alone. Isolation can literally kill when it comes to depression. 

The Stats

According to the World Health Organization, 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. Even worse, 700,000 people each year are so depressed or hopeless that they take their own lives. In fact, suicide is the 4th leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds. 

The National Institute of Mental Health says approximately 8.4% of Americans have suffered from at least one bout of depression. That’s around 21 million people in the US alone. 

To put that in perspective, America's four largest cities: New York City, LA, Chicago and Houston have just 17.7 million people combined. 

Another way to look at it is the realization that 1 in 15 people are currently suffering from depression. 

That means in an average classroom, 2-3 kids could be suffering. It also means for every 15 people at your workplace, at least one is likely to be suffering. 

Personally, we believe the numbers could be much higher since so many people suffer in silence. 

What is Depression? 

Many people, especially older adults, just didn't talk about this kind of thing because it was seen as a weakness. 

It doesn’t help that the medical community labels depression as a “mental disorder.” 

If you ask us, that’s just bad marketing if you actually want people to get help. 

Think about it, if you called the flu or cancer a “disorder” how many people would try to hide those illnesses even longer?

We like the recent trend towards “mental health” as a more positive, proactive approach. 

The fact is, depression is a set of symptoms that can occur for a whole host of reasons from our environment to our genetic make up. 

Technically speaking, depression looks a lot like sadness or grief. The main difference is depression has a host of symptoms that lasts at least 2 weeks. 

According to Psychiatry Today…

“Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:

  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue
  • Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., inability to sit still, pacing, handwringing) or slowed movements or speech (these actions must be severe enough to be observable by others)
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Symptoms must  last at least two weeks and must represent a change in your previous level of functioning for a diagnosis of depression.”

    As you can see, those symptoms look a whole lot like many other things we deal with on a fairly regular basis. 

    Plus as a first responder, our jobs can also trigger some of these symptoms--especially sleep problems. 

    Sadness and Grief vs. Depression

    It’s important to understand that depression is not the same as sadness or grief. Sadness and grief are normal, healthy parts of our human lives. 

    It’s important to understand the differences. For example:

    • In grief, painful feelings come in waves, often intermixed with positive memories of the deceased. In major depression, mood and/or interest (pleasure) are decreased for most of two weeks.
    • In grief, self-esteem is usually maintained. In major depression, feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing are common.
    • In grief, thoughts of death may surface when thinking of or fantasizing about “joining” the deceased loved one. In major depression, thoughts are focused on ending one’s life due to feeling worthless or undeserving of living or being unable to cope with the pain of depression.

    Can Food Help?

    Here at Thinline Anthem, we believe many of the issues of life can be improved with nutrition. 

    One of the most overlooked aspects of mental health is nutrition. That’s why we wanted to share these three foods as a natural way to fight back against depression. 

    Yes, coming out of depression is a fight. And, yes, we believe it’s a fight you can win. 

    Will food and nutrition alone be enough? 

    Probably not. But it’s one of the easiest things to change even if you don’t want to talk to anyone or want anyone to know. 

    Plus, if you cook for someone you suspect might be suffering from depression, this is a way for you to support them in their fight.  

    With that said, many times depression leads to poor eating habits and loss of appetite. So, we understand this is still not an “easy” fix. 

    3 Depression Fighting Foods

    Like we say week in and week out, you don’t have to change everything to change things. We believe small changes add up to big results over time. We’d much rather see you stick to a few small changes than make drastic but temporary changes. 

    Here then are three small changes you can make starting today…

    Eat More Fish

    Wild-caught, oily fish such as salmon, trout, and sardines help fight depression. Researchers analyzed 26 studies involving 150,000 people and found that people who consumed the most fish were less likely to experience symptoms of depression.

    Eat More Nuts

    Specifically, walnuts. One study found that depression scores were 26% lower among those that consumed ¼ cup of walnuts daily. 

    Adults who ate walnuts were more likely to have higher levels of optimism, energy, hope, concentration, and a greater interest in activities. 

    Eat More Seeds

    Handy and portable, seeds are another proven weapon in the fight against depression. We’ve talked in the past about pumpkin seeds as a handy, on-the-go snack. 

    For depression, you can add chia and flax seeds to the list. However, these are not “grab a handful” types of seeds. These are more sprinkle on salads, stir into oatmeal, or add to smoothies type seeds. You only need about a tablespoon. 

    The Common Link? 

    As we were researching this article we found a common link among these three depression fighting foods…

    Omega-3. All three of the above mentioned foods are high in Omega-3’s. Omega-3 fats are vital to brain health and may be involved in the functioning of serotonin, a neurotransmitter important in the regulation of mood. 

    So What!?

    We’ve covered a lot of ground in this post. Even so, there are many more pieces to the depression puzzle. 

    As we mentioned at the top of the page, food and supplements alone may not be enough. Someone fighting through depression may also need someone to talk to, exercise, and yes, even prescription drugs. 

    But if you prefer a natural approach, then why not start by adding some of the foods mentioned above. 

    By the way, if you know you’re not going to consistently eat fish, seeds, and nuts consider getting a quality Omega-3 supplement. We’ve gotten positive feedback on the Omega-3 we offer. And at just under $25 for a 2 month’s supply, it’s a good value too. You can  check it out along with the reviews here

    Finally, if you think you or someone you know might be fighting depression, it’s ok. It’s not anything to be ashamed of. It’s something you’re going through. We all go through stuff. And it all sucks while we’re going through it. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you. 

    Keep fighting. And if we can help, contact us and let us know. 

    We’re here to help

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