Can Eating Certain Foods Alleviate Depression?

Eating as a means to alleviate depression is a subject close to my heart because my wife suffers from clinical depression and has to take Lexapro, her current prescribed medication, everyday to cope. Clinical depression, unlike situational depression that lasts for a short time based on the situation one is undergoing is a serious medical disorder and no one is certain what causes it. Some believe that it’s a chemical imbalance while others believe that it’s genetic in nature. Whatever the cause, my wife’s been on Prozac as well as a few others but after awhile the doctors have to switch her because they become ineffective. Finding a food that would allow her to function without antidepressant drugs would certainly be a blessing because she loves to eat but hates taking pills.

Are there foods that can alleviate the symptoms of clinical depression? The results of a relatively recent study conducted at Harvard’s McLean Hospital showed a direct correlation between the ingestion of certain foods and the lessening of the symptoms of depression. The results were similar to those produced by the antidepressant Zoloff. Well, at least they did in laboratory rats. There haven’t been any experiments conducted on humans as of yet to validate those conclusions.

"The things that we eat provide the raw fuel for our body," says Bill Carlezon, director of McLean's Behavioral Genetics lab, who led the study. "We know that neurotransmitters in the brain and the neurons and how they talk to each other is really important for how people act and feel so if you're getting low quality fuel, it shouldn't be surprising that people don't feel well. On the flipside, it shouldn't be surprising that these things can make you feel better (Herper, 2005)." I guess that sort of validates the old axiom “eat right, feel good.”

Before you shout Eureka, please keep in mind that what those researchers did was simply give their lab rats Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Uridine, chemicals that are found in certain foods. Also keep in mind that their experiments were conducted using as rigorous procedures as those conducted by medical laboratories like those of Merk and Phizer pharmaceutical in the development and testing of their antidepressant drugs. They spent years and millions of dollars in perfecting their antidepressants while the researchers at McLean spent mere months testing their theories on lab rats. So, although the results may look promising, don’t flush your Zoloff or whatever you’re presently taking for clinical depression down the toilet. On the other hand, it won’t hurt you to eat foods high in Omega-3 Fatty Acids and high in Uridine.

Here’s a list of a few foods that are very high in Omega-3 Fatty Acids and in Uridine

· Molasses

· Sugar beets

· Salmon

· Walnuts

· Cheese

· Tofu

· soy milk

Beside the possibility that these foods will help you combat clinical depression, Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Uridine are known to help people ward off heart disease and some types of cancer. Eating healthier never hurts. Now, if I could just convince my wife of that.

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