How to Fight Depression with Nutrition January 14 2014

Depression can be fought in part, with food.  The vitamins you are looking for are B12, B6 and Omega3.  These vitamins correlate to another enzyme that helps your brain produce serotonin.  Depression, no matter the cause, is a temporary or chronic production of low-levels of serotonin. When your serotonin levels are too low, it is hard to enjoy life, be it a moment of sun in the middle of winter or a sea breeze in the summer--it’s significance simply does not register with you.  You can’t be happy about it, because you can’t turn up the production of serotonin required to feel happy.


Get the Right Vitamins

So it is important that you get enough B12, B6, and Omega 3. Fish such as cod, salmon, halibut, trout, tuna and snapper are good sources of Omega 3, as are walnuts.  B6 sources include nuts: peanuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts; and veggies: skin-on baked potatoes, yams, broccoli, green peas, bell pepper, asparagus, spinach and turnip greens. Turkey and eggs are also good for a depression-reducing diet.  Berries are one of the best-depression fighting fruits. The tryptophan **** in turkeys stimulates serotonin production. So make a turkey smoothie?


If your depression led you to eat the wrong foods and you are looking to lose weight as well as fight depression, it is actually very simple to integrate the two nutrient requirements for these efforts.


Eat Small Meals, But More Often

First, rather than three meals a day, you want six.  All of your “meals” should be no larger than a snack.  Start your morning with a smoothie.  See that hazelnuts are on the list for depression? You can purchase hazel nut milk; use that in the place of your almond milk for a smoothie. Hazelnuts are a bit sweeter than almonds, but very tasty.


For your morning snack, try a fruit salad that contains berries and fresh fruit, or try a berry muffin made with whole grains or oats.    For lunch, try a tuna-avocado guacamole in a lettuce wrap.  Have mixed nuts with dried fruit, and add just a few chocolate-covered M&M’s to fight that sweet craving.  But eat your entire portion of nuts and fruit. Then, for dinner, try a quinoa stuffed bell pepper.  


The Benefits of Quinoa and Tarts

Quinoa is a grain with complex proteins, so it makes a good meat substitute.  Add spinach, tomatoes and olives, into the quinoa and cook per directions.  If your directions call for vegetable oil, use olive oil. For desert, try a fruit tart on a nutty vegan crust. Vegan crusts omit dairy, but maximizes protein. You can build crusts out of the very nuts that will help you obtain the needed levels of omega3 and B6.  

Making tarts is a good way to utilize fresh fruit. You only need to cook the crust.  You can make a glaze out of honey, rather than sugar.  This tart could also be breakfast. Should you use a honey glaze, if you make certain that it is local honey, and you eat it every day for two weeks, you can also build up a natural immunity to local allergens. This won’t help you if you go on vacation to a spot that is home to plants you’re also allergic to, but it will help you in your own backyard.


Find the Right Recipes 

When recipe hunting for depression-fighting meals, seek out meals that incorporate more than one of the ingredients that will help stabilize your mood. If you are also trying to lose weight, do the same with those foods, too.  Look for recipes that can lead to developing healthier patterns by integrating as much variety of fruits, veggies, and nuts in a single meal as possible. Focus on using only grains that give you complete proteins, so that you are not dependant on meat for protein. However, do make sure that you eat fish a few times a week.  Also, make turkey your primary meat.  Remember meat and eggs are not the only source of protein available to you.  In fact, nuts, grains, and soy products are better for you.  So use them liberally, and be certain to keep your portions consistent.


Planning out your meals can be fun.  Turn menu making into a creative exercise and structure your meals like a puzzle.  You’ll be amazed how many dishes you can make out of the aforementioned suggested meats, nuts, fruits and veggies.  Step outside your usual meal routine, and experiment with the many recipes that are out there on the internet.





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Vegetables and Fruits to Manage Pain November 21 2013

For anyone who suffers a painful fibromayalgia or arthritis, or other pain, such as from injuries or surgery, it is likely possible, according to nutritional bio-physiological research, to reduce and minimize pain with raw vegetable and fruit smoothies made in high performance blending machines. Dr Stephen Grindstead (*) suggested in a blog about pain management that various nutrients in raw fruit and vegetables have anti-inflammatory powers.

Complex carbohydrates, those often consumed by vegans and vegetarians, also have shown pain-minimizing attributes.Obviously, fibromayalgia is directly associated or linked of causing inflammation. While the reduction of inflammation is not likely to cure the disease such as fibromayalgia or arthritis, the reduction of inflammation can assist the organism in attacking the problem and promoting a healing much better than as if the body constantly has to try putting out inflammatory fires, so to speak. Being always on the defensive, physiologically speaking, is not going to help make anything better. So inflammation has to be brought under control first.


Cherry Smoothies are Better than Aspirin 

Aspirin and anthocyanins in tart red cherries, which is naturally occurring, have some commonalities.  They both fight inflammation in the body in a similar way. Anthocyanins in tart red cherries is responsible for the flower colors red to blue. Another pain relieve agent comes from soy products. There is a direct correlation between consuming soy before surgery and a decrease in pain level, according to studies in animals.

In order to take advantage of these pain and inflammation reducing agents, one might want to mix up a breakfast smoothie containing 1 ripe banana, 1 cup of tart frozen cherries, and 1 cup of soymilk. Don't inlcude Aspirin, of course.  After blending, it is best to serve the smoothie immediately.


Fibromyalgia and Nutrition

According to studies conducted by the National Fibromyalgia Association, referenced by Dr. Grinstead (*), it was concluded that there is a direct association between nutrition and managing pain. Accordingly, the healthier the nutrition / food is the better pain is manageable. Wanting to keep pain under control may require a drastic change in lifestyle habits. These changes will naturally have to include the right balanced healthier and more nutrient rich diet as well as a more active lifestyle in respect to exercise. Health does not come from inactivity, in other words.

Nutritionists and health researchers promote a preventative approach. Malnutrition of vitamin deficiencies can have a direct affect on getting sick. For example the frequent cold and affected by viruses and the feeling of fatigue is a direct result to not eating well, or better, even eating bad dead food that has little to no nutritional value at all. In order to help prevent these sicknesses, healthy fresh nutrition is essential to give the body the proper remedies to fight off disease.


Nutrients Help Joints Stay Supple

You can add nutrients that help joint pain to smoothies or soups that you make with your high performance blender.  Ground flax seed, curcumin and Vitamin B12 may help you keep your range of motion in shoulders, hands, feet, hips and knees.

Flax seed comes in an oil, a liquid or a dry form.  The latter can be ground in an ordinary grinder and added to smoothie recipes.  Because it is a good source of omega-3 and fiber, it helps your joints stay healthy and your weight under control.  A daily dosage is three generous tablespoons or ¼ cup.

Curcumin is another nutrient said to have anti-inflammatory properties.  It is a spice closely related to ginger (*)  and can be used in many sauces, soups and even raw food smoothies.  Curcumin has been used as a natural remedy for a multitude of conditions and is thought to promote cardiovascular health and even relieve menstrual cramps. The supplement may also lower bad LDL cholesterol and restore kidneys to health, although more studies are needed.

Vitamin B12 also has pain management properties.  However, it is best to get the benefit from fortified soymilk instead of meat, especially if you are trying to reduce nagging or chronic pain.  The saturated fats in meat tend to aggravate inflammation.  Yeast can also be a good source of B12.  Adding fortified soymilk to your smoothies and yeast to your baked goods can help to ease your pain.


Complex Carbohydrates and Pain Control

The complex carbohydrates in vegetables such as peppers, spinach, broccoli and mushrooms are also reported to reduce pain.  Adding very lean meat, such as turkey, that also has tryptophan may also reduce pain, according to Dr. Margaret A. Caudill (*) who serves as a co-director at the Arnold Pain Center, which is located at Deaconess Hospital in Boston. If you are looking for additional ingredients to further your goal of pain control, consider lentils, split peas and whole grains.  All are good sources of complex carbohydrates.

The vegetables and beans can be easily combined for a highly nutritious soup.  Placing these vegetables in your high performance blender along with some bean sprouts makes a fantastic green smoothie.

Research continues to shed light on a fact we always knew:  that a balanced diet is necessary to maintain optimal health.  However, the science behind this simple statement is helping us understand just how powerful good nutrition can be.  Pain control can be as close as your next smoothie when you carefully consider the ingredients and stay away from foods with high fats that wreak havoc on your joints and muscles.





(*) References:

Dr. Stephen F. Grindstead

Spice closely related to ginger:

Dr. Margaret A. Caudill:


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