Good Fats for Depression

Good Fats for Depression

Eat good fats to prevent Depression

Eating more good fats and less bad fats helps avoid depression, Alzheimer’s and other inflammatory brain diseases.

Fat – in general – is not an enemy to the brain.  In fact, almost 60% of the brain is made from fats, dietary fats.  However, these are special fats that have a purpose – not the same kind of fat that sits on the belly.

The brain cells are called neurons.  Each neuron is covered in a membrane that’s made from fats or fatty acids.  You need to eat fats in order for cells to make this membrane and to keep it strong.

You also have a protective substance in your brain called myelin.  Myelin is a covering that helps to keep the signals in your brain from getting crossed.  You can think of it like the plastic coating on an electrical cord.

The coating keeps the electricity moving in the right path.  Myelin does the same thing for your brain.   And myelin is made up mostly of fat.  In order to make myelin, you need to eat fats so that the raw materials are there to make it.

But the wrong kind of fat, particularly trans fats can actually cause problems for your brain.  And carrying too much fat on your body can also cause problems.

Eliminate Trans fats

Trans fat is actually a man-made type of fat.  This comes from taking unsaturated oils and adding hydrogen to them so that they’ll stay solid at room temperature.  This type of fat is found in foods such as margarine and shortening.

Trans fats are also commonly found in french fries, chips, cookies and packaged snack foods.  This type of fat was once thought to be healthier.  However, modern research revealed that it is not only healthier, but it’s actually worse for your health.

Why do trans fats cause depression?

Your body uses natural fats found in foods to function daily. Natural fats keep cell membranes healthy and take vitamins A, K, D, and E to the brain. Trans fats kick out and replace natural fat cells.  When trans fats do this, they destroy cell membranes, wreak havoc on hormones, adversely affect memory and create depression.

Trans fats increase serum cholesterol. Serum cholesterol is cholesterol that floats in the blood. Trans fat also creates ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol which is created by eating lots of trans fatty foods. LDL cholesterol gunks up and blocks arteries, severely reducing blood flow to all parts of the body. Research proves that eating trans fats causes depression by clogging arteries and limiting blood supply carrying important nutrients to the brain.

Your brain is protected by a blood-brain barrier (BBB). The BBB keeps a lot of LDL cholesterol away from your brain, protecting it from being clogged up with fat. But your brain needs fat to function. So your brain makes its own fat, because it needs fat in its membranes, tissues, and the myelin sheaths which protect neurons. Neurons are important. Your body sends information via nerves to neurons. Nerves are like highways, and neurons are like pits stops. Neurons take the information and reply with what the body should do. It takes milliseconds for the entire process to happen. It’s so fast, you often don’t even realize it has happened.

Trans fats have been shown to replace good fats in the brain. Since 60 percent of your brain is made up of fat, this replacement of good fat by trans fats creates trouble. Trans fats replace good fats, like DHA, in your brain. So, trans fats eat away at the blood-brain membrane which is made up of fat. As trans fats become part of the brain’s membranes or myelin sheaths, they interfere with the communication between neurons. As a result, your brain cells shrink or die off. Memory goes. Depression sets in.

Read more at https://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/depressionhelp/2019/02/foods-cause-anxiety-depression.html#4OueuFowvr5vzeur.99

Fatty Acids

Fats are food groups that contain different fatty acids. The brain needs specific types of fatty acid in order to function at its peak.  You need polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA), saturated fatty acid (SFA) and monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA), more or less in right amount in order to have good brain health.

When you are getting too much animal-sourced saturated fats and trans fats and not enough of the PUFA and MUFA in your brain, you may suffer from problems such as:

  • Depression
  • Dementia, Alzheimer’s
  • Schizophrenia
  • Allergies
  • Attention deficit disorder

Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids

Polyunsaturated fatty acids include DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that helps boost brain power.  Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown in research to help improve intelligence.  This is especially true when infants and young children are given these fatty acids.

Most people have more of the polyunsaturated omega-6 fats in their diets than omega-3 fats.  Omega-6 AA fats come from meat, corn, and dairy sources.

For most people, the answer is to add more omega-3 fatty acids.  You can do this through your diet by more Omega-3-rich fatty fish, nuts and seed oils like flaxseed oils.  Many people find that they have better mental health and mental clarity when they restore this type of balance.

Animal-sourced Saturated Fat in Your Diet

Recent studies have shown a connection between the saturated fat from animals and plaque on the brain.  Plaque on the brain is known to cause problems with memory loss and is evident in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Research showed that people who had a diet high in animal-sourced saturated fat had higher levels of a protein that can form plaques on the brain.  Those involved in the study that had a diet low in animal saturated fat had lower levels of this same protein.

Though this was a small study, the evidence shows how important it is to be careful about your fat consumption.  Animal-sourced saturated fats are more likely to lead to brain problems.  They also put you at greater risk for heart disease.

 

Reducing Animal Fats 

Saturated fat is the type of fat that’s mostly solid at room temperature.  This is usually found in animal fats.  You can find saturated fat in lard, butter, milk, beef, chicken, and pork.  You don’t have to totally eliminate these foods from your diet, but it’s important to make good choices about them.

You don’t have to throw out meat from your diet altogether.  However, you should try to minimize red meat and look for lean meats when you purchase them for you and your family.

It’s also a good idea to limit red meat to once a week on your family’s menu.  The other days can include poultry and fish or vegetarian meals.

So, here are the good guys– the Good fats!

Coconut Oil 

One good source of saturated fatty acid that is good for overall wellness and the brain is coconut oil, which is the best cooking oil. It is more stable in heat with higher flash point. One can also add coconut milk in cooking to enhance the saturated fat content of the meal.

Monounsaturated Fatty Acids

Monounsaturated fat is liquid at room temperature.  This is found in plants and plant-based oils.  With this type of fat, you actually reduce your risk of disease and improve your health.  MUFA is found in olive oil, moringa seed oil, flaxseed oil, nuts, avocado and other plant foods. It is believed that MUFA is the healthy fat in Mediterranean diet.

Supplements for Brain Health

If you’re struggling to eat enough healthy fat in your diet, supplements can help make up the difference.  There are a few different supplements that will improve your brain health and help you get the right type of fat.

First, fish oil supplements can be very helpful.  They’re full of omega-3 PUFA and can help you have better heart health in addition to helping your brain.  If you choose fish oil supplements, it’s important to make sure that they are high quality.  Avoid inexpensive generics that don’t contain enough quality omega-3 acids to help you.

Flaxseed oil is another supplement that can really improve your brain health.  Flaxseed oil is so useful for every part of your body that it won’t be stored as fat if you add it to your diet daily. 

Try Oleia Softgels dietary supplement, a blend of Omega-5 & Omega-9 monounsaturated fats, good for brain health.

Oleia Softgels also help balance-off the pro-inflammatory diet, which is linked to depression.

Depression and Inflammation

While it is not certain that Major Depressive Disorder (Depression) is a pure ‘inflammatory’ disease, research shows that patients with inflammatory diseases are more likely to show greater rates of depression; that a large number of people with major depression show elevated peripheral inflammatory biomarkers, even in the absence of a medical illness.

“I prescribe Oleia Softgel 500mg 2caps per day to my patients because it helps provide deficiency of anti-inflammatory fats in the major neurotransmitters of the brain, which causes swelling of neurons that lead to mental illness like depression, aneurysm, Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia. Mental illness may be caused by reaction to environmental stresses, genetic factors, poor food choices or a combination of these. It is very crucial that we provide proper attention to our brain by eating healthy foods especially good fats, by exercising regularly and taking Oleia Softgels daily” -Dra. Myrna Cuerdo, Psychiatrist

Stay Healthy. MUFA More!

Stay Healthy. MUFA More!

Who wants Fats? 

When we hear the word FAT, the reaction is usually unappealing and displeasing. Nowadays, we are living in a more health-conscious society (because of so many diseases  that are suddenly developing) and no one doesn’t want to get fat, to be labeled as fat, or to eat fat.

But over the years, there are numerous studies that slowly proved the mistaken belief of the “all fat is bad” argument. Fats are important part of the diet. The body actually needs fat for energy and to process certain vitamins and minerals. However, not all fats are created equally. They don’t have the same effects on our health. In everything, there is always the good and the bad, even when it comes to fats.

Good fats can actually lower cholesterol levels, boost brain function and promote meal satisfaction while packing up on unhealthy fats can contribute to chronic disease and weight gain.

Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA)

MUFAs have gained a reputation as being one of the “good fats”—that is, fats that are beneficial to health. Recent evidence tends to indicate more favorable effects to general health as well as to reducing risk of cardiovascular diseases and other inflammation-related diseases. This has been strongly supported by many experts.

MUFAs are one of the two types of unsaturated fatty acids. Unsaturated fats primarily come from plant foods, such as nuts and seeds, and are liquid at room temperature. The two types of unsaturated fatty acids are MUFA, which have one double bond in the chain; and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), which have two or more double bonds.

The most common MUFA found in food is oleic acid, a fatty acid that occurs naturally in vegetable and animal oils, especially olive oil. Olive oil is 70 – 80% oleic acid. Many studies described its health benefits, such as reducing cholesterol levels, lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and protecting from breast cancer. MUFAs are found often in foods like olive oil, nuts, avocados and whole milk.

Replacing bad fats (animal-based saturated fats and trans fats) with unsaturated fats like MUFA may offer health benefits such as the following:

1. Protects Against Heart Disease

Diets high in MUFAs were associated with reduced risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Consuming higher levels of MUFAs than saturated fats has a protective effect against metabolic syndrome, a cluster of disorders that increase a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease.

Additionally, MUFA have beneficial effects on blood lipids. They reduce LDL Cholesterol levels (“bad” cholesterol), and increase HDL Cholesterol levels (“good” cholesterol). They also decrease blood levels of triglycerides. So eating MUFA tends to produce a general improvement in the overall pattern of blood lipids, that ought to be quite friendly to the cardiovascular system.

2. Aids Weight Loss

There are studies that establish a concentration of 60 percent monounsaturated fats, with a ratio of 1:5 saturated fats to unsaturated fats, showed the highest occurrence of body fat loss and ability to prevent further fat concentrations within the body.

3. Improves Mood and Lowers Depression Risk

Replacing saturated fats with monounsaturated fats in your diet can reduce anger and hostility levels as well as increase your daily physical activity and resting energy expenditure, meaning you burn more calories while at rest. The Mediterranean diet is associated with lower levels of depression.

4. Increases Bone Health

High monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) intake is associated with higher bone density and lower bone fracture risk. It allows your bones to absorb calcium efficiently, leading to denser bones and less occurrence of brittle bones and conditions like osteoporosis.

5. Reduces Cancer Risks

While some researches have been inconclusive, a lot of recent material supports the hypothesis that diets high in fat, especially unsaturated fats, lend themselves to a reduced risk of certain cancer.

Diets containing oleic acid reduced breast cancer risk. A study of women in Sweden found that those with diets higher in monounsaturated fats (as opposed to polyunsaturated fats) resulted in a less frequent incidence of breast cancer.

6. Suppress Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

Diet plays a role in improving the pain and stiffness of those who already have rheumatoid arthritis. Compared to healthy people, rheumatoid arthritis patients ate significantly fewer MUFAs, suggesting that MUFAs may prevent the disease.  In addition, olive oil consumption was associated with a lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis.

7. Protects the Liver

MUFAs can protect against liver injury due to a drug overdose. In rats, a high-MUFA diet protected against acetaminophen (Tylenol)-induced liver injuries. The presence of monounsaturated fats in the cell membrane of liver cells reduces the cells’ susceptibility to oxidative damage.

In addition, diets rich in MUFAs tend to decrease liver fat content, which may protect against nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

8. Benefits the Immune System and Lowers Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is thought to be the leading driver of some of the most challenging diseases of our time, including rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and even Alzheimer’s.

Olive oil is mainly made up of mostly monounsaturated fatty acids, the most important of which is called oleic acid. Oleic acid is known to be extremely heart-healthy and capable of fighting free radical damage (or oxidative stress), which has numerous health implications. The high amount of antioxidants in Olive oil means it protects your cells from damage. It also helps improve memory and cognitive function and works as an anti-inflammatory agent. Since inflammation is at the root of most diseases, olive oil which is  is a major component of MUFA plays a big role in fighting all these health disorders.

Get all these MUFA Benefits in a Softgel!

Aside from eating healthy and eliminating animal-sourced saturated fats and trans fats in our diet, incorporating Oleia Softgel MUFA Supplement into our daily routine will help you gain these benefits as Oleia softgel contains natural anti-inflammatory nutrients, giving optimal health benefits. Oleia softgel is recommended for the adjunct remedy for many chronic inflammatory diseases.

It is really important to be cautious about what we eat as it affects our overall health. Choosing the healthy fat over the bad ones will reap you amazing health benefits.

So friends, stay healthy, MUFA more!

 

 

About The Author

Andrea Daguno is a full time home maker. When she is not busy taking care of her husband and kids, she goes out giving financial management talks. She is a proud breastfeeding mom for four years running and an avid Oleia user.

A Fat Fact: Trans Fat can Shrink your Brain!

A Fat Fact: Trans Fat can Shrink your Brain!

With this busy– almost no time out lifestyle that we have these days, there are many food choices made for our convenience. We can just dial any fast food for delivery if we are stuck in our office desk… Or we can just shoot that packed food from the grocery shelf  if we want to indulge into a well-deserved easy meal after an exhausting day.

But do you ever consider checking on the labels of the food from that nearby store or even bothered to research what’s in it you just ate from your favorite fast food chain? I bet not.. or maybe you just forgot. Yay! FORGOT? This may make you remember to look on the label first before even thinking of picking that food for your next meal.

Beware of Trans Fats

Trans fats can make food taste good, last longer on grocery-store shelves, but they are hazardous for your health. These fats can be identified in the list of ingredients as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil. They can even sneak into foods labeled “zero trans fat” (because some may still contain 0.05 grams!). However, even a small amount will cause great damage to health. This is a man-made, artificial “fat” that the body is not well equipped to break down, utilize, or eliminate.

Transfat prolongs the shelf life of processed foods, but it reduces the shelf life of people.

Trans fats are often found in processed foods. They are commonly found in fried foods, store-bought salad dressings, pie crusts, muffins, chips, baked goods and other processed and convenience food.

 

Trans Fat and Mental Health

Regularly eating trans fats can lead to diseases like dementia and depression.

The World Health Organization says that 47.5 million people around the world are living with Dementia.

Dementia is a group of symptoms that affects mental cognitive tasks such as memory and reasoning. It is an umbrella term that Alzheimer’s disease can fall under. It can occur due to a variety of conditions, the most common of which is Alzheimer’s disease (Healthline). Alzheimer’s disease is responsible for about 50 to 70 percent of all cases of dementia.

A recent study that looked at the diets of people at-risk for Alzheimer’s has revealed that a balanced diet high in vitamins and low in trans-fats is good for you. Specifically for your brain, and could possibly be a check against the debilitating effects of aging on your thinking organ.

There are many studies in the past about brain health and diet which relied on self-reporting questionnaires but this recent research that was carried out by Oregon Health and Science University’s Gene Bowman, is a significant one because it  used blood work from 104 people who are over the age of 87 and are at risk for Alzheimer’s. Once the blood was drawn, the subjects were then given a series of cognitive tests to see how they performed.

The researchers found that subjects with high levels of vitamins B, C, D and E had higher scores, as did subjects with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Conversely, people with high levels of trans fats had lower scores.

Researchers also carried out brain scans on 42 of the participants and discovered that the subjects whose blood was brimming of vitamins and healthy fatty acids also had more brain mass than their trans fat laden counterparts. They’ve found out that a diet high in trans fats shrinks the brain and increases the risk of dementia.

Our brain is made of about 60 percent of fat and this comes from the fats in our diet. When trans fats become part of the cells and nerve sheaths they replace vital brain fats, such as DHA, an essential omega-3 fatty acid. As a result, cellular communication suffers, the cells degenerate, brain volume shrinks, and memory and cognition suffer.

Now, let me ask you: How’s your brain? Don’t fret! If you feel it is still at least the same size, there is still hope to avoid your brain from shrinkage— go for brain-friendly diets!

Better Food, Better Brain.

As the opposite of brain food, you can eliminate trans fat by avoiding processed food and those food that has ”hydrogenated oil” or ”partially hydrogenated oil” on their labels. 

Instead, consume those healthy natural fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts, and butter which are better for your physical and mental health.

Diets high in vitamins B, C, D, and E, and  Essential fatty acids (EFA’s such as Omega 3 and Omega 6) protects the brain from shrinkage and promotes a healthy brain. These EFA’s assist with brain and nerve tissue development, reduce inflammation, regulate mood and strengthen the immune system. It is important to ensure that you are getting EFA’s in your diet, as your body cannot produce them by itself. 

Good thing there is Oleia softgel!

Oleia softgel contains good fats from good oils like moringa seed oil & olive oil that can give optimal wellness to the brain. The good fats in Oleia softgel help correct brain fats balance for better mental health and function. Oleia softgels have faster and longer lasting effect than other brain health supplements.

So check out Oleia softgel today, it has all the excellent source of fats that will not let  your brain shrink!

About The Author

Andrea Daguno is a full time home maker. When she is not busy taking care of her husband and kids, she goes out giving financial management talks. She is a proud breastfeeding mom for four years running and an avid Oleia Topical Oil user.

7 Eating Habits to Manage your Mood

7 Eating Habits to Manage your Mood

Have you ever indulged in ice cream or cake when you are feeling down or upset? How about being stuck in traffic on your way to work without breakfast and suddenly felt “hangry” (Hungry+Angry)? Did you know that your energy level, your ability to think clearly and to handle stress is all affected by what you had at your last meal? Our mood can affect our food choices. But at the same time, our food choices can also affect our mood. Put simply: Food and mood have an effect on one another. Like what I shared with you on my previous blog, the mind and the body is a single entity, what you put in your stomach affects your mood and vice versa. It all begins with what kind of foods and drinks we intake that determine the nutrients in our system and how quality our physical, mental, as well as emotional well-being functions.

Having known that, have you ever considered which of your current eating habits and food choices are worth keeping that can make you feel happier and healthier? And how about the ones you should ditch?  Here are some positive suggestions you can make to improve your eating to manage your mood and can also support your overall health.

anti-inflammatory foods

  1. Eat regularly

Eating regular meals and snacks at the same times every day and choosing foods that release energy slowly will help keep your blood sugar levels steady. If your blood sugar drops you might feel tired, irritable and depressed. But having a regular eating schedule helps ensure that your body has a continuous source of fuel, and this may assist in keeping your mood stable.

Balance your mealtimes and try eating smaller portions spaced out more regularly throughout the day. Avoid skipping meals as it actually makes your body less able to take in food, and you are more liable to overeat at the next meal—aside from you getting “hangry” when you try to prolong the growling of your stomach. Eat foods like pasta, rice, oats, wholegrain bread and cereals, nuts and seeds– those that slowly release energy. On the other hand, avoid foods that make your blood sugar rise and fall rapidly, such as sweets, biscuits, sugary drinks, and alcohol.

anti-inflammatory foods

  1.     Keep yourself hydrated

Drinking enough fluids daily is important for health and well-being. Dehydration can affect brain structure and function because it is also involved in the production of hormones and neurotransmitters. If you don’t drink enough fluid, you may find it difficult to concentrate or think clearly. It can also lead to digestive problems such as constipation and an overly acidic stomach.

It is recommended to drink at least 8 glasses of fluids daily. Water is the cheapest and healthiest option. Drinking tea, coffee, juices, and smoothies all count towards your intake but be aware that these may also contain caffeine or sugar.

anti-inflammatory foods

  1. Get your “Five a day”

What is five a day? It is simply the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables contain a lot of the minerals, vitamins, and fiber we need to keep us physically and mentally healthy.

What do five servings of fruits and vegetables look like? In general, a serving of whole fruit equals the entire fruit, while a serving of cut-up fruit is one cup, or about the size of a small fist. A serving of vegetables (fresh, frozen, or canned) is a cup, and a serving of raw green leafy vegetables is two cups. Measure, measure! Nah! Experts say don’t stress about keeping track of numbers. Instead, simply focus on adding more fruits or vegetables into every meal and snack. Devote half of your plate to fruits and vegetables.

To start, stick with your favorites, as you are more likely to eat them on a regular basis. If you want to keep it simple, focus on the “big three”: leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, and berries. Fresh, frozen, tinned, dried and juiced (one glass) fruits and vegetables all count towards your 5 a day.

anti-inflammatory foods

  1. Look after your gut

Your Gut is your second brain. Good gut health is not just for your physical health, but for your mental health as well. It’s not only what food you put in your stomach, but it is also important how you break down that food and absorb the nutrients for you to utilize all the vitamins and minerals from your food. Sometimes your gut can reflect how you are feeling emotionally. If you’re stressed or anxious or eating on the run, this can make your gut slow down or speed up, hence,  you can’t digest well. If you’re feeling stressed and you think it is affecting your gut, try some relaxation techniques or breathing exercises.

For healthy digestion, you need to chew your food slowly, have plenty of fiber, fluid and exercise regularly. Adding fiber-rich foods and fermented foods like yogurt can promote the growth of good gut bacteria that have a positive impact on mental health. Avoiding processed foods, high-fat foods, and foods high in refined sugars is extremely important to maintaining a healthy microbiome, as these foods destroy good bacteria and promote the growth of damaging bacteria.

Healthy gut foods include fruits, vegetables and whole grains, beans, pulses, live yogurt, and other probiotics.

anti-inflammatory foods

  1.     Get enough protein

Protein contains amino acids, which make up the chemicals your brain needs to regulate your thoughts and feelings. These chemicals are responsible for whether you are calm or agitated, alert, tired, happy or depressed. Protein also helps keep you feeling fuller and alert for longer. Eating protein with every meal helps the food last longer in your stomach and bloodstream, prevents blood sugar crashes and also keeps you up and alert for several hours after eating.

Smart protein food choices are lean meat, seafood, eggs, cheese, legumes (peas, beans, and lentils), soy products, nuts, and seeds.

anti-inflammatory foods

  1.     Manage caffeine

Caffeine acts as a central nervous system stimulant- an important part of which is the brain.  People usually take it to get a quick burst of energy, however, it can also make you feel anxious and depressed. Moreover, if it keeps you awake at night, definitely it can affect your mood the next day. It will also give you withdrawal symptoms if you stop suddenly. Caffeine affects everyone differently, so if it negatively impacts you, avoid drinking it or try opting for caffeine-free or low-caffeine beverages.

Manage your caffeine intake as overconsumption is being linked to an increased risk of depression. Drinking many caffeinated beverages can also cause adverse effects going beyond your mood including insomnia, an upset stomach, and muscle tremors.

You can find caffeine in tea, coffee, chocolate, cola, and other manufactured energy drinks.

  1.     Eat the right fats

Your brain is composed of about 70 percent fat. It needs essential fatty acids from your diet to keep it working well. Omega-3s and other healthy fats help improve brain chemical activity by assisting brain cells in communicating with each other and reducing inflammation that can damage brain cells. This anti-inflammatory component of healthy fats helps prevent depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders. So rather than avoiding all fats, it’s important to eat the good ones.

Healthy fats are like the ones found in oily fish, poultry, nuts (especially walnuts and almonds), olive and sunflower oils, seeds (such as sunflower and pumpkin), avocados, milk, yogurt, cheese, and eggs. These essential fats can also be found in Oleia softgel dietary food supplement–this is an excellent choice especially to those who are suffering from this dietary shortfall.

Small steps in changing your dietary habits can make a big difference in the long run. Next time you’re feeding your body, don’t forget that you’re also feeding your brain. Embrace healthy eating and enjoy happy living!

References: Harvard Health Publishing, Healthline, Mind and Mental Health Charity

 

About The Author

Andrea is a full time home maker. When she is not busy taking care of her husband and kids, she goes out giving financial management talks. She is a proud breastfeeding mom for four years running and an avid user.

How Food Affects How We Feel

How Food Affects How We Feel

Eating healthy food for the brain can help improve cognitive function, including memory, decision-making ability, mental response time, and mood. High-quality foods contain lots of vitamins and minerals that nourish the brain. They also provide essential fatty acids that stimulate and strengthen brain cells. On the other hand, if we fuel up with anything other than healthy food, such as heavily processed or refined foods containing artificial additives, it can surely bring harm to our brain. These foods promote inflammation and oxidative stress which can damage brain cells and can even worsen symptoms of mental disorder, such as depression and anxiety.

The link between poor mental health and nutritional deficiencies has just been established decades ago through the scientific studies conducted within the field of Nutritional Psychology. This is a growing discipline that focuses on the use of food and supplements to provide essential nutrients as part of an integrated or alternative treatment for mental health disorders. By doing thorough studies, they’ve found out that there are many correlations with what we eat, how we think, feel, and behave and the kinds of bacteria that live in our gut.

Photo by Joshua Coleman

 

“The Second Brain” produces “The Happy Chemical”

Most of us if not all have experienced “butterflies in your tummy” when nervous, or “just go with your gut feeling” when making a decision. Actually, you may be getting signals from your second brain, the Gut.

Scientists call this little brain the enteric nervous system (ENS). Ironically, this little brain is composed of two thin layers of more than 100 million nerve cells or neurons lining our gastrointestinal tract where 95% of serotonin is being produced. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that influences mood, sexual desire and function, appetite, sleep, memory and learning, temperature regulation, and some social behavior. It is sometimes called “the happy chemical” because it contributes to wellbeing and happiness. As it helps relay messages from one area of the brain to another, the widespread distribution of its cells is believed to influence a variety of psychological and other body functions. Of the approximately 40 million brain cells, most are influenced either directly or indirectly by serotonin.

Moreover, the function of these neurons and the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin are highly influenced by the billions of “good” bacteria that make up our intestinal microbiome. These bacteria play an essential role in our health. They protect the lining of our intestines and ensure they provide a strong barrier against toxins and “bad” bacteria; they limit inflammation; they improve how well you absorb nutrients from your food, and they activate neural pathways that travel directly between the gut and the brain. The gut doesn’t seem capable of thought as we know it, but it communicates back and forth with our big brain—with profound results.

Photo by Lidya Nada

 

How food affects how we feel

Serotonin is one of our system’s neurotransmitter that has the most significant impact on our diet. Healthy foods contain vitamins and minerals that assist the activity of serotonin. Depending on our intake of these foods, serotonin may become less or more active. That makes sense that if our diet lacks such nutrients, it stimulates imbalances that can lead to mood disturbances/swings, irritability, and depression.

High levels of serotonin boost our mood, curb our cravings, increase our pain tolerance ,and help provide us a restful sleep; whereas, low levels of such can cause food cravings, insomnia, depression, increased pain sensitivity, aggressive behavior, and poor body temperature regulation.

Photo by Brooke Lark

Healthy eating prevents mental disorders

Eating healthy is rarely easy, especially if you’re trying to move away from the convenience of processed food that we get used to. But of course, if we want to live longer with better cognition and outlook in life, we have to be intentional with our eating habits. There is one popular diet that you may have already heard of and you might consider trying. Hailed as the best overall and easiest to follow, the Mediterranean diet promotes traditional healthy living practices that centered on eating large quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish and olive oil—these are foods considered as ”anti-inflammatory foods”, coupled with the vital element of daily physical activity and sharing meals with friends and family—can reduce your risk of serious mental and physical health problems.

It is now recognized that many mental health conditions are primarily caused by inflammation of the brain which ultimately causes our brain cells to die– which leads to mental illnesses like depression, aneurysm, and Alzheimer’s disease. There is a major study that finds the Mediterranean diet has a positive effect on our mental health because it helps fight inflammation. This is because of the essential fats, Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), the central component of the Mediterranean diet. This healthy fat is also present in Oleia soft gel, a dietary food supplement that contains anti-inflammatory MUFA or MonoUnsaturated Fatty Acids. Taking Oleia soft gel daily is recommended by many health experts to prevent the risk of inflammation-related diseases. Oleia softgel MUFA supplement is an excellent companion on your way to healthy eating such as the Mediterranean diet– a realistic and the most sustainable way to live longer, reduce diseases and genuinely feel good inside.

Do you have the guts? Dare!

So, are you ready to live happier and longer? With a curious mind, why not try to start noticing how you feel and behave after eating certain food hours after you eat it until the next day? Then try to experiment by eating healthy (You know it when I say ‘healthy’ right? Avoid processed food –those high in sugar or high in salt foods!) Top it up with Oleia soft gel dietary supplement daily for 2-4 weeks and compare how different it can make you feel. If you feel good and more energized, then it looks like you’re on the right track. 

 

About The Author

Andrea is a full time home maker. When she is not busy taking care of her husband and kids, she goes out giving financial management talks. She is a proud breastfeeding mom for four years running and an avid Oleia user.

Depression is Treatable

Depression is Treatable

Scrolling in one of my social media accounts, I noticed unusual posts from a long time friend. We are not that close yet I’ve known her as a happy and optimistic person but this past few months she seems hopeless and lonely. She shares sad quotes, angry remarks, and at times, suicidal thoughts. I felt there’s something that is not right. I know it is none of my business however I was urged to give her a PM just to check if she’s doing fine. I asked her if how’s everything and told her I’m a bit concerned with her recent posts. She replied, ” I am okay, just feeling a bit depressed.” Depressed—the word that made me more worried. I told her if she needs someone to talk to or listen to, I’m just a message away. She appreciated the gesture and assured me she’s going to be fine.

When I hear the word depression before, it’s just a normal kind of sad emotion. But these days, it sends a different meaning. Feeling down once in a while is a normal part of life, but when you feel emotions such as hopelessness and despair and clings for a long time, it may be more than what we think as just plain sadness. It might be crossing the borderline of depression.

What is Depression

Depression is a mental illness that can change the way you think, feel and function with your everyday activities. This involves a lot of symptoms, like feeling exhausted all the time, not doing your usual enjoyable activities, or thoughts of death and suicide. The occurrence of depression last at least 2 weeks at a time. Though the causes of depression are not fully understood and may not be down to a single source, it usually results from a combination of recent events and other longer-term or personal factors, rather than one immediate issue or event. It can also be triggered by a sad event or they can seemingly come of out of nowhere.

What are the Symptoms of Depression

Depression varies per individual but there are common signs and symptoms. The good news is it can be treated with early diagnosis. Recognizing the symptoms is key. Though these symptoms may be a normal feeling when one experiences life’s lows, we should be cautious that the more symptoms one has, the stronger they are, and the longer they’ve lasted—the more likely it is that one is dealing with depression. Consulting your regular doctor is a good place to start. They can assess and help manage your symptoms such as:

  1. Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation. Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings.
  2. Loss of interest in things once pleasurable. You don’t care anymore about former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex.
  3. Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
  4. Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning or sleeping too much.
  5. Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
  6. Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
  7. Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
  8. Reckless behavior. You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
  9. Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions or remembering details.
  10. Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, stomach pain, and cramps that won’t go away.
  11. Suicidal thoughts or attempts. Talking about killing or harming one’s self. Saying things like “Everyone would be better off without me” or “I want out”

What  Can you do to Cope up with Depression

When you’re depressed you may feel that there’s no way out or nothing can change your situation. However, there are many things you can do to lift your spirit up and get going. It may take time but committing to help yourself to make positive choices can slowly —but surely make you feel better.

Here are some actions you can do to cope up with depression:

Reach out and Stay Connected. Choosing to be alone and to be cut off from other people’s lives fuels depression, so reach out to your friends and loved ones, even if you feel like being alone. Staying connected to other people and taking part in social activities will make a world of difference in your mood and outlook. Talking to someone about how you feel face to face can be relieving. That person doesn’t have to be able to fix you. He or she just needs to be a good listener—someone who’ll listen and won’t judge you.

Join a support group for depression. Being with others dealing with depression can go a long way in reducing your sense of isolation. You can also encourage each other, give and receive advice on how to cope, and share your experiences.

Get moving. Your body might feel heavy getting out of bed but regular exercise can be as effective as antidepressant medication in countering the symptoms of depression. Taking a short walk outside or dance around the house can be a good start. Begin with small activities and slowly build up from there.

Eat a mood-boosting diet. Reduce your intake of pro-inflammatory foods that can adversely affect your mood, such as caffeine, alcohol, trans fats, sugar, and refined carbs. Additionally, increase mood-enhancing nutrients such as Omega-3 & Omega-9 fatty acids.

Research shows that patients with inflammatory diseases, those who are taking more pro-inflammatory foods than anti-inflammatory foods, are more likely to show greater rates of depression. Balance out your pro-inflammatory diet by taking more anti-inflammatory foods like fatty fish, olive oil, vegetables and MUFA food supplement. MonoUnsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFA) help reduce inflammation.

Find ways to engage again with the world. Spend some time in nature, care for a pet, volunteer, pick up a hobby you used to enjoy (or take up a new one). You won’t feel like it at first, but as you participate in the world again, you will start to feel better.

It is normal to feel sad, lonely or depressed when we experience struggles in life such as loss of a loved one, failures, wounded self-esteem, etc. However, if that feeling stays for a longer period of time and already keeps you from leading a normal life, it is something you should be mindful of.

Depression is treatable. Trying the activities above can make you feel better. (Even if you’re just feeling down and don’t actually have depression). However, if these positive lifestyle choices aren’t enough, it’s time to seek professional help from a doctor who can give effective treatments available that suits you.

 

 

 

 

About The Author

Andrea is a full time home maker. When she is not busy taking care of her husband and kids, she goes out giving financial management talks. She is a proud breastfeeding mom for four years running and an avid Oleia user.