Bit by agonizing bit, society is coming to acknowledge that the struggle with mental health is a legitimate illness, just as worthy of attention as physical ailments. Considering that one in five U.S. adults will experience mental illness at some point in their lives, it is high time we arrived at this point. Of the wide range of mental health struggles, depression is the most prevalent, affecting nearly a full tenth of the population (though these numbers could be much higher, as the negative stigma continues to inhibit many people from seeking help). For those experiencing severe symptoms of depression, revolutionary intervention in the form of ketamine infusions is an exciting development. In cases of less-severe illness, dietary adjustments could be an effective recourse, or—at least—a supplement to other first-line depression treatments.
Recent research shows that the Mediterranean-style diet, long associated with longer life spans and a reduced risk of cancer, may also protect against depression. Greek researchers presenting at the American Psychiatric Association’s 2019 Annual Meeting in San Francisco have demonstrated that consuming abundant vegetables and reducing alcohol and poultry intake can prevent the onset of depression-related symptoms. This is but one of a myriad of studies confirming the importance of diet in mental health maintenance.
While moving to the Mediterranean is quite a leap, eating as if you were there is easier than you might think. Inhabitants of this region have traditionally subsisted on foods like olive oil, fish, and vegetables, alongside whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, and flavorful herbs, such as rosemary or oregano. Poultry, eggs, and yogurt are consumed in moderation, and red meat is an infrequent indulgence.
You’ve certainly heard that you are what you eat. At a nutrient level, this could not be any more true. A nutritious diet affects various bodily functions, including brain chemistry which, of course, drives our outlook and emotional well-being. What’s more, nutrition influences the immune system, which has also been connected with depression. You wouldn’t be surprised to hear that good health protects against physical illness, and nor should you be surprised that it assists in preventing mental illness, too.
Foods that sit outside of the Mediterranean diet, such as white bread, margarine, red meat, processed meat, and fried foods, cause inflammation in the body, which has also been linked to depression. Accordingly, on your next supermarket visit, arrive with a Mediterranean diet-focused shopping list. Getting in the habit of eating like you were on a Greek vacation might just have you feeling as if you were on vacation year-round!
Of course, a Mediterranean diet only takes you so far when it comes to managing the symptoms of depression. Severe cases require more than a revolutionized diet. For those experiencing depressive symptoms that interfere with daily life, it’s important to talk to your primary care physician or mental healthcare provider. Talk therapy and antidepressant medications may be needed to get you back to happiness, and when those first-line treatments don’t work, contact our ketamine clinic to find out if you are a candidate for ketamine infusions.
Contact Tahoe Ketamine
Tahoe Ketamine offers a wide variety of treatments for those suffering from depression or anxiety. Our treatment options range from ketamine infusions to IV hydration therapy. Contact our South Lake Tahoe office today and let us know how we can meet your health and wellness needs.