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Nature Knows Best: How to fight depression…naturally

My plea to you is not to wait to take it seriously. If you feel like you have a case of mild depression than these tips could help.

Depression is defined in the dictionary as “feelings of severe despondency and dejection.” This can include sadness, a loss of interest in life, loss appetite and more. Depression is very real and is becoming more and more common. Oklahoma has one of the highest rates of depression according to a report by Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

My plea to you is not to wait to take it seriously. If you feel like you have a case of mild depression than these tips could help. If major depression is present, I recommend seeking professional help immediately. It’s always important to remember: YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN THIS!

Here are a few ideas that could help you cope with mild depression.

Spending time with a pet can help. Animals are known to help calm and heal human emotions. Staying active, especially outdoor activity is important, fresh air and sunshine boost serotonin levels. Attitude and mind set are paramount. Being grateful and thinking positive can make a major impact on our outlook. This can become a habit with practice. Making face to face connection with a friend in this fast paced world is important.

Nutritionally it is vital to eat a diet of fresh foods that are not processed. Having a healthy gut as I have previously mentioned in other columns is VERY important. I always recommend probiotics and fermented foods and drinks. Eating too much sugar can be linked to depression.

It is estimated that up to 80% of the American population could be low in Magnesium. This highly important mineral is vital for over 300 biochemical functions in the body including brain functions. Low magnesium can be caused by a diet of processed foods, depleted soil and leaky gut. “Case studies of magnesium supplementation reported improvements in depression, anxiety, and sleep within 1 week” according to the Journal of American Board of Family Medicine. state

People with kidney issues may not want to supplement with Magnesium. Some foods rich in Magnesium are salmon (fresh caught), bananas, nuts and seeds, spinach, kale, black beans, figs and avocadoes. Magnesium supplements are available, check online for the RDA (recommended daily allowance.)

Increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids is suggested, these are important for overall brain health. Eating Salmon, sardines, trout or finding a high quality fish oil supplement is ideal. People who prefer a plant-based diet can supplement with Flax Oil.

St. John’s Wort is an herb commonly used for depression, anxiety and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which is when depression is affected by seasons. This herb appears to increase the levels of dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin in the brain. Please check with your health care provider.

A friend who is a Professional Counselor sums it up beautifully, “I think prescription medications have their place and they can be very useful (sometimes they can be the difference between life and death). Particularly if someone is engaging in self-harm or if they are suicidal, I would recommend a consult with a psychiatrist or other physician. However, for mild or situational depression, I would encourage people to explore natural remedies first. Things like something lacking in your diet or just not getting enough sunlight can affect someone’s mood significantly. Prescription drugs have multiple side effects, which are worth it if they’re necessary, but if you can find relief in other ways with minimal or no side effects, why not?” Staci Ulrich, M.A., LPC

I would like to note that along with Depression, suicide is becoming more common in people…even children. It seems we need to be more vigilant as a community with everyone in all stages and walks of life. When I was very young a friend of mine’s mother committed suicide. I still see the sadness in his eyes today and his children are missing their grandmother, they do get to visit her grave. I beseech you to please reach out to someone. This life can no doubt be hard at times but suicide is only transferring the pain to others. YOU matter! Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1 (800) 273-8255

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 KJV

Brooke DeLong, N.D.

About the Author

Brooke DeLong has a degree in Naturopathy and is passionate about educating and inspiring people. She is a wife and mom to four awesome kids.

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