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Depression and Anxiety Nutrition Strategies, part 3 of 3

By Robyn Openshaw | Sep 19, 2012


More strategies, if you’re serious about addressing what causes your depression and/or anxiety:

5.      High-fructose corn syrup has to go. I noticed that any HFCS, such as found in candy, drinks, and cheap processed food, caused me anxiety for several days after I ate it. In a few times in my life, when life circumstances were taxing my coping abilities, bad nutrition even contributed to brief, dark depressions.

No treat is worth that. I have studiously avoided HFCS for years. Refined sugar is terrible for anyone with a tendency towards mood disorders, but HFCS is the very worst. Most packaged drinks and candy have HFCS as a main ingredient. It’s in many breads, condiments, soups, and cereals, too. Not only does it create a heavy drain on your pancreas and liver, causing your insulin to go haywire and your triglycerides to skyrocket, but it is virtually always genetically modified, too. You will also pay the price, over time, in your gut health, if you eat products containing HFCS.

6.      Are you getting enough essential fatty acids? 80 percent of Americans are deficient in Omega 3. Many studies link deficiency to depression, since you must have Omega-3 to break down and transmit serotonin, epinephrine, and dopamine.

And it’s not just the quantity of Omega 3 that is the problem. It’s the excesses of Omega 6, probably largely because of consumption of refined oils (anyone eating fried foods, chips, etc.), which are high in 6.

To get control of this balance, eliminating toxic refined oil in your diet has to be part of the solution.

The other part is to get 2-3 Tbsp. of chia, flax, and / or hemp seed in your diet. The sprouted varieties of these seeds are more bioavailable than the plain seed or seed oils.

Use 1 Tbsp. chia seed soaked in 3 Tbsp. of water as an egg replacer in a baking recipe. Or make chia pudding.

You can drink 1 Tbsp. chia in a glass of water as an appetite suppressant, if eating later at night is a problem for you. Then, you’re covering your Omega 3 need at the same time. Chia has a phenomenal nutritional profile, in addition to the Omegas—lots of calcium, iron, Vitamin C, and protein.

7.       Is your weight in the “ideal” range? Even ten pounds of extra weight, studies show, can dramatically affect not only feelings of self-worth, but also lightness of mood. Chronically heavy mood is not a natural state, to be accepted over time as simply a part of your personality. It is a problem as biological in nature as multiple sclerosis or asthma are.

Extra weight heavily taxes the endocrine system (hormones), and imbalances of hormones cause depressed feelings—which make it hard to problem-solve life circumstances. And those things contribute to more weight gain—so it’s a vicious cycle! Of course the last 10 lbs. are the most stubborn, but the clear path to getting rid of them is to eliminate white flour and sugar.

You will not miss them like you think you will. I immediately signed on for a second year of my $10,000 no-sugar bet, because when $10k is at stake, I don’t fret over whether to eat the brownie or not. I think about other, more interesting things, like enjoying my friends at the party.

8.      If you are taking SSRI’s or other drugs, consult your doctor before adding any natural, adjunct therapies, because adverse reactions can occur when using both Prozac (for instance) and herbal treatments. The following are the most well-known and well-studied herbs for depression and anxiety.

St. Johns Wort is helpful for depression, with at least 10 active constituents involved in that intervention, especially hypericin and pseudohypericin. It apparently works in part by increasing the activity of neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine. Drugs do not operate by utilizing metabolic pathways.

Kava is the most-studied as being efficacious for anxiety and insomnia. Kava affects a GABA-receptor-binding capacity and blocks norepinephrine uptake. One study in Germany found it to have effects equal to benzodiazepines, but without side effects.

Other supplements shown to be effective against depression include L-tryptophan, or 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HTP).

Their function is to increase beta-endorphins, your “feel-good” hormones. A typical dose of 5-HTP is 200 mg per day, and this supplement can be found online or in health food stores.

Posted in: Detox, Mind/Body Connection, Weight Loss, Weight Management

14 thoughts on “Depression and Anxiety Nutrition Strategies, part 3 of 3”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Great post! I just learned that two thirds of the extra-virgin olive oil coming from Italy is cut with up to 50% or more cheap refined oils. Watch out.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi Robin,
    Thanks for the great information. I just wanted to let you know that the ban on l-tryptophan was lifted quite a while ago and is easy to find in any health food store or online.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been wondering if there is a difference between High Fructose Corn Syrup, and just Corn Syrup? Some labels say HFCS but others just say Corn Syrup. Is there a difference as it relates to the issues you’ve discussed?


  4. Anonymous says:

    Might be worth mentioing that St Johns Wort can interact badly with the oral contraceptive pill, so best to check with a medical provider/ family planning expert if you’re thinking of trying it while on the pill. Of course there are other contraceptive options, but an unwanted pregnancy is a sure-fire way to creaet more anxiety!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Will there be a group buy for almonds, etc., this year?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Are any of the herbs safe for kids? I’ve got a 7 yr. old daughter who, despite being on whole foods diet for the last several years, has occasional episodes with anxiety/stress.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for all the helpful tips Robyn! And I thoroughly enjoyed your VIP Greensmoothiegirl class yesterday! I cannot WAIT for the affirmations to buy!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I was just wondering about essential oils and pregnancy. I had done some research on tea tree oil and found it was not safe during pregnanc,y but it did not say if that was just when ingested. I was just going to use it topically. I also read neem oil is definetly not good as it is a natural contraceptive. I did not read anything in the doTERRA book about pregnancy.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Yes, thanks Robyn for the information, inspiration and reminders of how everything works together.
    It would be wonderful if you could add KC to your schedule as asked by Mike.

  10. Anonymous says:


    The Modern Essentials book has a section on pregnancy as well as a chart that shows which oils should be avoided. I can email that chart to you of you would like.

  11. Saying essential oils are “certified” is a deceptive marketing ploy. Certified by whom? There is currently no governing body for essential oils in the US. Certification then would be an in-house procedure that means little or nothing.

  12. jani dalton says:

    I was on antidepressants and anxiety meds for 25 to 30 years. Once you’re on them doctors don’t want to take you off. Took me 6 months to go off all of them. Have been off all for a year and feel much better. Had all minds of bad side effects. My kids think I’m normal now. Have tried green Drinks off and on. After reading these blogs plan to go off all junk foods and try free. Smoothies and raw foods exclusively. Thanks for the great info!

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