13 Natural Remedies for Depression
Depression is a serious mental illness that affects how you think, feel, and act.
Although there are plenty of natural remedies from herbs to supplements that can help ease depression symptoms on their own, sometimes it’s best to consult with your doctor before trying these treatments out. Here are 13 ways for anyone feeling depressed or suicidal to recover by seeking professional support:
- Stop Smoking
- Get Enough Sleep
- Restore Your Social Life
- Attend Support Groups
- Find an Alternative Therapist
- Avoid Addictive Substances
- Rebuild Trust
- Take Care of Yourself
- Reduce Stress
- Download Self-Care Apps
Did you know that one out of every seven people will have depressive symptoms at some time in their lives? Depression is becoming one of the leading causes of disability in industrialized and developing nations. Around 150 million individuals worldwide suffer from depression.
By 2020, the World Health Organization expects that depression will be the second most common ailment on the planet. But how are we preventing and treating this life-altering mood disorder? Antidepressant medicines are a common therapy for depression, but they don’t work for everyone and have many negative effects. However, some individuals are unsure where to go for a remedy that would not exacerbate their health concerns.
The good news is that there are natural depression therapies that are effective and target the disease’s fundamental cause. If you want to treat your depression symptoms naturally, research shows that eating an anti-inflammatory diet similar to the Mediterranean diet may help. This diet includes essential vitamins and minerals for hormone balance and brain function. Physical activity/exercise at a moderate to a high level has also been demonstrated to help people avoid depression. Using essential oils for depression and making other lifestyle adjustments to reduce stress are also viable solutions.
Depression occurs when a person’s mood remains low for an extended period, which interferes with her everyday activities. Depression may be very difficult for both the individual suffering from the symptoms and her loved ones.
Although depression may strike at any age, it is more common in adults. It’s particularly common in middle-aged or older persons who are also dealing with major medical concerns such as cancer, diabetes, or Parkinson’s disease. In addition, a family history of depression, using certain drugs that induce depressive side effects, significant life changes, chronic stress, and trauma are all risk factors for depression.
Medications and/or psychotherapy are often used in traditional depression treatment. SSRIs, or selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors, are the most often prescribed antidepressants and include medications like Celexa, Lexapro, Zoloft, Prozac, and Paxil. Antidepressant drugs seem to benefit individuals with depression, but they act as symptom suppressors rather than cures. When a patient stops using antidepressants, the symptoms are likely to return. Antidepressant medicines can have major adverse effects, such as suicide ideation, weight gain, and personality changes. Another risk of psychotropic medicines such as SSRIs is that they might trigger neurotransmitter breakdown, resulting in brain alterations.
Psychotherapy is another option in addition to medicine. Various types of psychotherapy, such as “talk therapy” or counseling, problem-solving therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and interpersonal therapy, might be beneficial. When cancer patients suffering from depression were asked whether they would prefer individual counseling, antidepressant medications, or support groups to address their symptoms, the preference for individual counseling was significantly higher than the other options, according to a study conducted at Ohio State University. In combination with other natural depression cures, counseling may be an effective depression treatment.
12 Natural Depression Treatments
1. A well-balanced and healthy diet
You may be shocked to hear that the foods you eat have a big influence on your mood. It’s critical to consume foods that promote neurotransmitter activity, which are the brain’s messengers that regulate mood, energy, hunger, and a variety of other bodily functions. Therefore, the meals you consume have a major impact on your neurotransmitters.
Eating an anti-inflammatory diet, such as one that closely resembles the traditional Mediterranean diet, may also lower your risk of depression, according to research published in the journal Primary Care in 2018. Compared to other balanced diets, such as the Healthy Eating Index diet (HEI), the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet (DASH diet), and the Dietary Inflammatory Index diet, the research revealed that sticking to a healthy Mediterranean-style diet lowered the risk of depression the greatest.
The relationship between food habits and depression was investigated in a 2009 research published in the British Journal of Psychiatry. 3,486 people were divided into one of two dietary groups. The first group consisted of those who ate a whole-foods diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and seafood. Those who ate processed meals came in second. Sweetened sweets, fried meals, processed meat, refined cereals, and high-fat dairy items were among these foods. The participants were evaluated after five years. Researchers discovered that those who followed a whole food diet had a decreased risk of depression. High intake of processed foods, on the other hand, was linked to an elevated risk of depression.
Eating therapeutic foods has the potential to change your life. The following is a list of full, anti-inflammatory foods that should be included in your diet to prevent and cure depression:
To prevent and cure depression, include these foods in your diet:
- Omega-3: Omega-3 meals are one of the most significant components of your diet for preventing or treating mood disorders, according to research. The lipids in your brain are made up of fatty acids. The omega-3 fatty acid family accounts for 33% of those fatty acids. This suggests that omega-3 fatty acids are required for normal brain function. Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial to the brain because they promote communication and reduce inflammation. Wild-caught salmon, mackerel, herring, white fish, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, natto, and egg yolks are among the greatest omega-3 meals.
- Fruits and veggies: Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables boosts your intake of essential nutrients that may help you feel better. Folate-rich fruits and vegetables, for example, help the brain’s metabolic functions, and research suggests that a lack of folate might cause depressive symptoms. Spinach, asparagus, avocado, beets, and broccoli are some of the best folate-rich foods. Antioxidant meals are also necessary to fight the metabolic alterations that occur when you’re stressed. Antioxidant treatment for 6 weeks dramatically lowered both depression and anxiety levels in monitored patients, according to research published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry. Blueberries, goji berries, blackberries, cranberries, and artichokes are some of the best antioxidant foods.
- Healthy fats: Healthy fats are high in vitamins and minerals, which help to increase energy and improve mood. Furthermore, consuming good fats helps to minimize free radical damage, which is linked to depression. However, it’s crucial to remember that not all fats are created equal. In reality, research has shown a link between trans fat consumption (such as hydrogenated oils) and the risk of depression. Eat healthy fats like avocados, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, walnuts, flaxseeds, and omega-3s like walnuts and flaxseeds.
- Lean Protein: Protein is essential for maintaining cognitive function and hormone balance. Protein meals also provide us with energy and make us feel better. The amino acids enable many of the body’s processes; hence we need to eat a lot of protein throughout the day. You feel weary, your immunity decreases, and you become moody if you don’t consume enough protein. Grass-fed beef, lentils, wild salmon, organic poultry, black beans, yogurt, free-range eggs, raw cheese, and bone broth protein powder are all excellent protein sources.
- Probiotic Foods: Consuming probiotic foods boosts energy, improves cognitive function, and improves mental health. Kefir, yogurt, kombucha, miso, raw cheese, and fermented vegetables are some of the best probiotic foods. Drinking kombucha every day is a fantastic method to obtain probiotics since it also includes enzymes and B vitamins that enhance your energy levels and cleanse your body.
2. Refined Carbohydrates and Sugars are limited or absent
Have you ever wondered why when you’re depressed, you desire refined carbs and sugars? When you’re feeling down, grab for the cookies or potato chips because high-carbohydrate meals release serotonin, a natural opioid that works in the brain similarly to opium. Although these foods temporarily improve your mood, they can cause weight gain, sleep problems, candida overgrowth, and poor energy levels, aggravating your depression symptoms.
Sugar intake rates were shown to be linked to the yearly risk of severe depression in a study done at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas. And according to a comprehensive analysis released by the American Public Health Association, there is a link between poor mental health in children and adolescents and harmful dietary habits (such as consuming a “Western diet” consisting primarily of processed foods). In addition, high-refined-sugar diets are detrimental to the brain because they induce inflammation and oxidative stress.
Avoid packaged and processed meals that are prepared with refined carbs and sugars to prevent depression symptoms by supporting brain health and hormone balance. Instead, keep it simple and eat genuine, entire foods in their original state.
The keto diet is one specialized diet that includes several of these dietary changes and may specifically influence depression. For example, animal studies have indicated that pups born to mice on the ketogenic diet had a lower risk of developing depression. In addition, placing animals on the ketogenic diet improves some of the symptoms of depression in a model of depression.
3. Omega-3 Fish Oil
Neurotransmitter function is necessary for emotional and physiological brain equilibrium, and omega-3 fats are essential for that. Therefore, three trials involving the treatment of depression with omega-3 fatty acids were examined in a study published in CNS Neuroscience Therapeutics. The advantages of omega-3 therapy were compared to placebo therapy in one research, the effects of omega-3s on children with depression in another, and the third study was an open-label experiment utilizing EPA to treat bipolar depression.
Omega-3s were discovered to have a considerable impact, according to the researchers. Patients who completed at least one month of follow-up in open-label research, including adults with bipolar depression, had a 50% or greater decrease in depressive symptoms. Fish oil pills are an excellent approach to guarantee that you obtain adequate omega-3 fats in your diet.
4. The use of probiotics
Studies have shown probiotic pills boost mental attitude owing to the gut-brain link. In addition, probiotics enhance nutrient absorption and support glycemic regulation, preventing blood sugar spikes and decreases. Most significantly, studies demonstrate that there are direct channels of communication between the stomach and the brain, implying that taking probiotics alters your behavior and brain chemistry, increasing cognitive performance and lowering depression symptoms.
The link between intestinal health and depression was discovered in a 2017 research. 44 persons with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and mild to moderate anxiety or depression were studied. Half of the participants were given a probiotic (Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001), while others received a placebo. Six weeks after starting probiotics regularly, 64% of patients reported a reduction in depression. Only 32% of patients who received a placebo reported a reduction in depression.
5. D3 vitamin
Vitamin D supplementation was found to be beneficial in the management of depression in a systematic review and meta-analysis evaluating the efficacy of vitamin D supplementation as a natural remedy for depression. In addition, vitamin D supplementation changed vitamin levels in a way that was comparable to antidepressant medications.
Vitamin D serves as a hormone in the body and influences brain function, which is why a shortage has been associated with an increased risk of mood disorders, including depression and seasonal affective disorder (often known as “winter depression”).
6. Herbs that act as adaptogens
Adaptogen herbs are a kind of herbal medicine that helps to reduce stress hormones and calm the neurological system. When you’re stressed, they assist in regulating and protecting your body by lowering cortisol levels.
Rhodiola and ashwagandha are two adaptogens that may help with depression naturally. Rhodiola works by making your neurons more sensitive, including the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters aid in improving mood and increasing attention and memory. Ashwagandha helps to alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as regulate hormones. The greatest thing about these natural depression cures is that, unlike most antidepressant medicines, they have no negative side effects.
B vitamins have a role in neurotransmitter function, and low levels of folate and vitamin B12, in particular, have been associated with depressive symptoms in studies. This is particularly true for people who have had lithium treatment or who are alcoholics.
Vitamin B12 improves the nervous system and increases energy levels, while folate aids food absorption, reduces irritation, and combats weariness. In addition, taking a B-complex vitamin will aid in the natural production of serotonin and ease depressive symptoms without the need for drugs or sweet meals.
8. St. John’s Wort
St. John’s wort has been shown in many trials to aid with mild to moderate sadness and anxiety. In addition, St. John’s wort is a natural antidepressant that has been likened to the effectiveness of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a commonly prescribed form of antidepressant. According to the study, St. John’s wort also has fewer negative effects than typical antidepressants.
Although scientists aren’t sure how St. John’s wort fights depression, it’s thought to be linked to the herb’s capacity to increase the availability of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine in the brain. This is significant since these three neurotransmitters assist in increasing mood and alleviating depressive symptoms. Also, if you decide to utilize St. John’s wort as a natural cure for depression, do so only under the supervision of your physician.
9. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender oil aids in the reduction of stress, the promotion of tranquility, and the improvement of sleep. Because of its sedative and relaxing effects, have a long history of pharmaceutical usage for mood disorders. In addition, studies have shown lavender oil to have neuroprotective properties. It serves as an antioxidant and increases dopamine receptors.
Add 5–10 drops of lavender oil to a warm bath, diffuse 5–10 drops in your bedroom at night to improve sleep, and apply 2–3 drops topically to the temples, chest, and wrists in the morning to help with depression.
10. Chamomile Romana
Roman chamomile essential oil is a gentle sedative that promotes relaxation and soothes tensions. According to studies, Roman chamomile oil may enhance sleep quality and decrease anxiety whether taken alone or in conjunction with lavender oil.
Inhale the vapors straight from the container a few times a day, apply 2–3 drops topically to your wrists and back of the neck, or disperse 5–7 drops at home or work to utilize Roman chamomile as one of your natural treatments for depression.
11. Support and Relationships
Because emotional disorders are the most prevalent cause of depression, it may be exacerbated by a lack of strong connections, poor self-confidence, and a sense of purpose. Focus on your faith and build a strong circle of people who can support and encourage you. It’s also beneficial to get professional therapy to manage stress and plan your treatment options and objectives.
The “quality of social interactions is a substantial risk factor for serious depression,” according to 2013 research from the University of Michigan. Those with poor overall relationship quality, a lack of social support, and social stresses were at the highest risk of depression. Researchers discovered that these relationship statuses increased the likelihood of sadness by more than twofold. Personal interactions seem to be one of the essential natural depression treatments.
A randomized trial published in JAMA in 2019 attempted to see whether physical exercise might help reduce the risk of depression. The study’s findings revealed that greater physical activity levels were connected to a lower risk of serious depression, indicating that regular exercise might be an effective preventative approach for mental health. “The causation and direction of this link are not obvious,” the study’s authors add. “Physical exercise may guard against depression, and/or depression may result in reduced physical activity.”
Exercise provides you with more energy, improves your sleep, and boosts your confidence. These exercise advantages will help alleviate depressing symptoms while also promoting emotions of enjoyment and self-worth. Another comprehensive study from 2012 revealed that exercise might assist in alleviating depressive symptoms, mainly when used in conjunction with psychiatric therapy.
Aim to exercise for 20 minutes or more three to five times each week. Yoga, pilates, jogging, barre, burst training, and calisthenics are just a few examples of exercises you may attempt. Even a short stroll in the fresh air can increase your happy hormones and energy levels. This is one of the natural therapies for depression with the biggest diversity of alternatives.
- depression treatment
- signs of depression
- what causes depression
- seasonal affective disorder
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.
HOW WOULD YOU RATE THIS ARTICLE?