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Stressed or Depressed?

So much of how we feel is tied to our brain chemistry. When you know how to give yourself a ‘natural high’ boost with amino acids and other key nutrients you stop craving sugar, caffeine and alcohol. Patrick Holford will show you how in his upcoming seminars in Joburg, Pretoria, Durban and Capetown. Don’t miss out!

Beating the blues

Depression isn’t a disease that you’ve either got or you haven’t. We are all somewhere along the sliding scale between happy and completely depressed. Many of us sell ourselves short on mood. We may be consistently quite low but would never consider ourselves depressed or go to the doctor for treatment. Unless you feel relatively consistently happy and motivated, the chances are that you can improve how you feel. Patrick Holford suggests some healthy, eating and lifestyle related ways to help improve your mood and your ability to cope with stress – these are Good Medicine solutions.

1)    Increase your omega-3 fats

Research show that the more fish the population of a country eats, the lower is their incidence of depression. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) omega-3 found in oily fish is the most potent natural antidepressant. EPA is thought to boost serotonin, the brains feel-good neurotransmitter.

2)    Increase your intake of B vitamins

People with low levels of B vitamins or high blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine (a sign that they are not getting enough B vitamins or folic acid) are more likely to be depressed and less likely to have good results from anti-depressant drugs. Women especially, with a high level of homocycteine will have double the odds of developing depression. Your homocycteine level indicates how good you are at methylation, a critical biochemical process in the brain and body. The optimum level is below 7.

3)    Boost your serotonin

The amino acid tryptophan converted into another amino acid called 5-hydroxytryptophan (5- HTP) makes the feel good neurotransmitter, Serotonin. Tryptophan can be found in many protein rich foods such as meat, fish, beans and eggs, while 5-HTP is found richest in seafood, meat and eggs. Exercise, sunlight and reducing your stress level also tend to promote serotonin.

4)    Balance your blood sugar and try chromium

There is a direct link between mood and blood sugar balance- the more uneven your blood sugar supply, the more uneven your mood. Lots of refined foods and carbohydrates not only supply very little nutrients but they use up the mood- enhancing B vitamins to turn sugar into energy. Chromium is vital for keeping blood sugar levels stable because insulin can’t work properly without it.

5)    Get enough sun exposure, exercise and vitamin-D

Vitamin-D is known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ because about 90 per cent of the body’s vitamin-D is synthesized in the skin by the sun.  Getting sufficient sun exposure, supplementing with vitamin D and eating oily fish all help to boost your reserves. Exercising outdoors gives you the double benefit of getting vitamin D and the mood-boosting effects of the exercise itself.

6)    Consider allergies

Sometimes eating a food you are unknowingly allergic to can bring on feeling low and tired.

Best Foods:

–          Oily fish( Salmon, mackerel, herring, kippers, sardines)

–          Chia seeds

–          Almonds

–          Pumpkin Seeds

–          Green vegetables

Worst foods:

–          Sugar

–          Caffeinated drinks

–          Alcohol