Diet tips to fix depression
This section is massive. This site is dedicated to fixing your gut to fix your head through probiotics, prebiotics and quality supplements, but food is really important too.
Listen to your body as much as the 'experts'
Most of these tips I've tried myself and they are backed up by science or experts in the field. I am not an expert in the field, but I'll try to give you direction to those people that are. If I can be so bold, I would say that dietary advice from most dieticians, the Australian Heart Foundation, the American Heart Foundation, the World Health Organisation are next to useless and possibly counterproductive, certainly for your mental health anyway.
Take for example the typical diet triangle or pyramid. It's finally a lot more block like than triangular. To get these organisations to change though is difficult because they don't want to be seen as having been wrong all along, but in many respects they have been.
I'll give you an example. I'll tell you to get your cholesterol up. Why? Because cholesterol is really important to brain health. 1/3 of the fat in your brain (which is a lot) is made from cholesterol.
I mean don't go crazy but a healthy cholesterol will be about 5-7.5, not below 5.5 which is the Australian treatment standard.
I elaborate on all these issues in the subscriber section.
Eat meat! Sorry to you vegans and veggos. The human brain runs on fats - natural fats. Veggos can get them but our bodies are not designed to run on vegetables alone. Buy your meat grass fed and organic if you can. If you want low fat, get bison or buffalo, kangaroo in Australia, deer is good. Chicken and turkey are good also. Always go for grass fed or organic whenever you can.
Anthropological studies show that all ancient tribes ate meat. There is little evidence of any ancient peoples living on a vegetarian diet (they can tell this by their teeth records and by fossilised poo). I'll give you another example, iron is an important nutrient that we hopefully have all heard of. Iron with a chemical formula is Fe (Ferrous in Latin or German). The kind of iron in meat is known as Heme (think of haemoglobin or blood). Healthy blood needs plenty of iron. Vegetables on the other hand also contain iron but it is known as Non-Heme iron. Heme iron is about 10x more absorbable than Non-Heme iron. Fat soluble vitamins A, E, K, D are much more absorbable from meat than vegetables. If you really want lots of vitamins and minerals eat guts, liver, brains, and kidneys, (see more about this in the Eat Guts section).
If you have depression give up the vegan or vegetarian diet at least until your depression is cured, it could well be part of the problem.
Eat Fish. It’s the Omega 3 and DHA in fish that’s important. You can get it from supplements suc as fish oil and krill but you will need mega doses of them. Omega 3 is VERY important to brain health amongst other things.
The other thing that’s important is the ratio between Omega 6 oils and Omega 3 oils.
Omega 3 = Fish oil (this is approximate)
Omega 6 = canola oil/sunflower oil/ rice bran oil (this is approximate)
The best ratio for brain health, body health is 1:1 so one part of each.
Estimates of Aust/USA diet is Omega 6 = approx. 25g per day.
One fish oil capsule = ½ g of omega 3 oil per day.
To balance the oils you need to take 50 fish oil capsules per day.
The only way to get this ratio even close is to
- Eat Fish
- Cut out Omega 6 oils as much as possible.
There are other things like grass fed beef, grass fed butter, flax seeds, chia seeds but fish is far and away the best. Sorry you can’t fry it in canola oil either. Salmon or Mackeral are good, so is caviar, but who can afford that on a regular basis?
Eat vegetables. The variety is important, so is the quality. Green vegetables are good and contain vitamins, fibre, minerals.
The greener the vegetables the better. The green colour is a folate indicator. Smaller vegetables rather than larger are best,r because the larger ones have more water not more nutrients. Keep in mind potatoes are not vegetables. Cooking is generally important for vegetables because it makes the nutrients more available, but it also tends to destroy folate as well. Fermented vegetables (Sauerkraut) are an absolute powerhouse of vitamins. Just the process of fermenting the vegetables will increase the vitamin content. For example, vitamin C increases by 2 to 3 times over the raw cabbage. Vitamin K, and B increase in the sauerkraut over the fresh vegetables.
Eat eggs. Organic and free range are best. Try duck eggs, they are great.
Eggs are a great source of healthy cholesterol (the allegedly good kind of cholesterol). Quality eggs are also a great source of vitamin D. Eggs should be cooked until they are hard-ish because that is the proteins gelatinising making them more available for the eater. If you have read my other stuff about vitamins and oils you will understand the importance of eggs.
Drink full cream milk. Organic as well and not homogenised. Fresh milk from the cow is best but hey who can get that? If you can't take dairy, try goats milk. If you can't do that, drink activated nut milks. Most people can handle cheese but try to get real cheese, not processesd cheese.
It took me years to like camembert, but that’s me. Camembert is full of good bacteria as well as calcium and other good nutrients in dairy. There are other ways to get the benefit of milk without the sugars and with probiotic benefits. I’m talking buttermilk which is fermented milk, as is Kefir. Kefir is the product that apparently gave the Bulgarians a much longer lifespan than other europeans about 100 years ago.
Kefir is made with a grain. Think of the grain as like a small capsule or tablet. These grains were so prized that the Bulgarian king made a law that the grains would not be transported out of the country. Eventually some smugglers/spies entered the country and smuggled some grains out so the rest of the world could enjoy this superfood. The worlds first superfood!
Filter your water, or even better get it from the sky. A pristine mountain stream is the best but that’s not usually available. Get the best water your budget will allow you. I do not recommend alkaline water. Aim to drink 2 litres per day. More if you work in the heat or with your hands.
Eat fresh fruit. But not too much one to two pieces per day is more than enough. Avoid fruit juices, but home squeezed may be ok. Just be aware of how much you are having. One orange per day is enough. Fruit juice is basically a sugar delivery device. Whole fruit is better but is still high in sugar.
Avoid soft drink/soda
Avoid soft drink (soda) like the plague. The absolute worst is anything that says DIET or HFCS. It contains chemicals, not real sugar, which is worse than real sugar, even in the amounts soft drink contains!
Avoid vegetable oils
Avoid vegetable oils. Vegetables are broccoli, peas, artichokes and carrots. There is never a vegetable around when you want to make oil. All vegetable oil is made from grain, not vegetables. Vegetable oils contain mostly pro inflammatory omega 6 fats and trans fats or they become trans fats in your body. Choose instead lard, beef fat, olive oil, coconut oil, nut oils, butter or ghee.
Eat Real bread
Eat real bread. Its hard to find. I don’t really recommend wheat but that’s another story. If you are going to eat bread get the most traditional style you can afford. Most modern bread is not really bread at all, it just looks like it.
Get plenty of fibre (fiber)
Get plenty of fibre (fiber). This feeds your gut bacteria and is good for the bowels. There is a lot more to this subject in the subscriber section. You need to vary your fibre sources. Getting it all from wholegrain wheat is not sufficient.
Avoid margarine, eat butter
Avoid margarine like the plague. Grass fed or cultured butter is the only safe option. I would rather be happy with high cholesterol any day than depressed with a blood test that my doc likes.
Keep the sugar down and never touch artificial sweeteners and I include Stevia here in case you were wondering.
Eat salt. Salt is great for you,get good quality.
Fresh is best
Fresh is best. I once ate, for two days, a vegetarian Ayurvedic diet. Ayuverda says it should be as fresh as possible, so not transported, not refrigerated, basically it just falls off the tree or is plucked from the ground. The food had a quality of freshness about it that I had never experienced before. When I say fresh, I mean pick it off the tree and eat it. I know we in the modern world can’t do that. Just do the best you can.
Eat Fermented foods
Eat fermented foods. For example fresh sauerkraut, yoghurt Kefir, Kombucha, Kimchi home made beer, miso, soy sauce (fermented not chemically made), fresh vinegar. You can make your own sauerkraut or Kombucha easily if you wish. Fermented food is full of natural probiotics. It is great for your gut and for your head.
Eat some raw food.
Eat some raw food. I mean lettuce and tomato are good, but not really enough. The occasional raw veggie is good also. So is raw fish and even raw meat(yuck). Some things are healthier eaten cooked, but some are better eaten raw.
Something I don’t do but is highly recommended is eating "sweetbreads". This ain't bread with sugar on top, itss liver, kidneys, brains etc. Guts are a vitamin and mineral powerhouse but they also contain lots of amino acids (proteins) that aren't found in the muscle meats that most people prefer. Muscle meats are fillet steak, rump, porterhouse, t-bone, leg, shoulder etc.
If you did everything I say above, then you would not be reading my website because you wouldn’t have depression. Most of this I learned after I fixed my depression. It is really important to your GUT HEALTH and to your BRAIN HEALTH.