Tag Archives: antioxidants

Can Diet Help Ease Symptoms of Depression?

Can diet cure depression? Certainly not, clinical depression is a complex and serious health condition that is most often treated with a combination of medication, therapy and lifestyle changes. However, as with many chronic or intermittent health conditions, diet does play a big part in worsening or bettering illness. Certain ‘mood-boosting’ foods have shown promise in helping ease some of the symptoms of mild depressive disorder.

So, How Does Diet Come In To the Picture?

Lifestyle can play a big part when it comes to any illness, particularly exercise and diet. While exercise can be just as influential in helping ease depression by releasing mood-boosting endorphins, we will focus on diet for now. As we mentioned, depression is a complex health issue that is activated by a myriad of different factors, one of those factors being the brain’s release of abnormal levels of certain neurochemicals like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Depression can also be heavily influenced by hormones like cortisol, a stress hormone. While there is no one “super depression food” that can singlehandedly combat the illness, eating certain healthy foods together can help by replenishing depleted nutrient levels (which can also affect mood), boosting energy and activating the release of ‘happy chemicals’ in the brain which can help combat the effects of excess cortisol. Some of these foods include:

  1. Antioxidant-rich eats: antioxidants help combat free radicals, which are part of normal bodily processes but can lead to disease and disorder within the body (especially the brain) when they over replicate. Foods rich in antioxidants include: blueberries, leafy greens, orange fruits and veggies (thanks to beta carotene), and green tea, just to name a few.
  2. Complex carbs for a complex condition: when your body metabolizes complex or “smart” carbs (not simple carbs like cookies), the brain releases the mood-boosting neurochemical serotonin which can help naturally, albeit temporarily, elevate a low mood.
  3. Protein is your pal: protein notoriously boosts energy, giving your body (brain included!) the pick-up it needs to avoid the debilitating fatigue and lethargy commonly associated with depression, as well as better regulate chemicals and hormonal processes in the body. Moreover, amino acids (which are found in many protein-rich foods such as meat and fish) like tryptophan also boost your serotonin levels.

  4. Nuts, seeds and legumes: Think Mediterranean and your brain will thank you. Medical research has drawn a link between lower levels of both B12 and folate in depressed individuals, so it stands to reason that increasing these nutrients may help fight or stave off depression symptoms (but before you reach for any supplements, talk to your doctor). High concentrations of both can be found in many Mediterranean-esque foods such as beans, legumes, fish and leafy greens.

These are just a few of the diet tweaks that may give your body the goodies it needs to help gently ease some of the symptoms of depression. Low levels of vitamin D have also been linked to depression, and increasing omega-3 fatty acids and chromium have shown promise in helping alleviate at least some of the weight of depression. Aside from a healthy diet and plenty of exercise, it is important to take any prescribed medications and attend necessary therapy sessions to help combat the troublesome affliction. Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you return again soon!



Health Reasons to Head to the Cafe More!

Hot beverages are enjoying the ‘good health’ spotlight more than ever lately, thanks to new research suggesting more pros than cons when it comes to the following drinks. According to studies conducted by Harvard University Medical School, both routine coffee and tea drinkers (minus added cream and sugar) are at lower risk for certain diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The benefits don’t stop there, let’s take a peep at some more pros a café may have to offer you:

Coffee: More Friend Than Foe?

So, what’s the real deal with coffee? For decades it was dubbed a health no-no, but various recent studies seem to debunk older ones, nudging coffee further toward the healthy food isle. More recent (and reliable) studies illustrate more benefits from drinking coffee than downfalls. While you should moderate caffeine intake, a cup of joe a day may be beneficial for many. Aside from containing disease-fighting flavonoids, coffee also contains potassium and manganese. It has been linked to lowering risk of developing certain conditions such as type 2 diabetes, gall stones and Parkinson’s disease. Check out our article on coffee and asthma to see how it may even help those with chronic respiratory issues.

The Benefits of Green and Black Tea

Tea of all kinds are quite rich in polyphenols, phytochemicals found in natural plant-based food sources that have disease-fighting antioxidant properties. Teas are shown to have anti-inflammatory properties as well. Studies have illustrated that regular tea drinking (in combination with a healthy overall lifestyle) may help with weight loss and cholesterol control. Tea in moderation doesn’t appear to have any ill health effects (except perhaps the jitters in those sensitive to caffeine), and fits into a healthy diet nicely. Green tea in particular has shown promise in reducing the risk of certain cancers such as bladder, breast, lung and stomach.

Benefits of Herbal Teas

Though research on herbal teas has been limited and generally inconclusive, certain herbal teas have shown promise when it comes to aiding health, for example:

  • Oolong tea has linked to reducing cholesterol levels.
  • Research suggests chamomile tea may help lower risk of developing certain types of cancer, as well as vision and kidney problems.
  • Peppermint tea has anti-inflammatory effects and can help calm the intestinal tract, easing symptoms such as bloating and nausea (except for those who have GERD, peppermint can exacerbate that disorder).
  • Ginger tea also helps calm a bad stomach.

Hot Cocoa? Yes Please!

Cocoa is a nutritional powerhouse. It is rich in flavonoids, magnesium, manganese, calcium and zinc. Cocoa can help aid cramps, lower the risk of heart disease, among many other health benefits. Notice we said “hot cocoa” and not “hot chocolate”, as many store-bought hot chocolates contain unhealthful ingredients that counteract the health benefits of cocoa. To really get the best health effects of this yummy beverage, use real cocoa, your favorite kind of milk and stevia to sweeten.
There you have it! Some good reasons to keep sipping your favorite hot beverages! Though, it is important to note that drinking tea or coffee alone won’t make you immune to developing the aforementioned diseases, however, combining these drinks with a healthy diet that is rich in produce and low in processed and red meat will definitely help lower your risk of developing disease. Thanks for visiting DocChat!

Add These Antioxidant-Rich Foods To Your Plate!

Antioxidants are substances that work to inhibit the oxidation process by neutralizing free radicals, chemicals that overpopulate and damage healthy cells and DNA. Antioxidants also undergo many other beneficial processes in the body including: protecting DNA against toxic metals, protecting the kidneys, producing energy for cells, aiding the immune system, heart and brain, as well as stimulating gene production. These goodies have countless important jobs to keep on top of within the body.

Do Antioxidants Help Fight Cancer?

This one is tricky to definitively answer. Because of their oxidation-restricting abilities, many people believe antioxidants directly fight cancer. However, according to the National Cancer Institute, studies show mixed results on whether or not antioxidants can stop cancer. While there have been promising studies that suggest antioxidants may help prevent, or positively influence certain types of cancer at certain stages, more empirical evidence is needed before antioxidant supplements are recommended to cancer patients.

Other Conditions Antioxidants May Help Prevent

While more research is needed to unequivocally correlate antioxidants with disease prevention, various studies suggest antioxidants can help reduce your risk of developing such conditions as:

  • Eye diseases (like macular degeneration)
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Heart disease
  • Senility (specifically Alzheimer’s disease)
  • Skin aging

Different Types of Antioxidants

There are many varieties of antioxidants, but the science gets a little tricky when looking into the chemical makeups, subcategories, forms and duties of all these different types. Some of the more common types of helpful antioxidants we should strive to consume include: anthocyanins, lutein, beta carotene, manganese, selenium, vitamins E and C, resveratrol, zinc and flavonoids.

Dietary Sources of Antioxidants

It would benefit everyone to increase intake of antioxidant-rich foods, as they have many proven health benefits and are integral to a healthy body. Some key sources of antioxidants are:

  • Green veggies such as spinach and broccoli
  • Orange foods like oranges and carrots are high in beta carotene
  • Spices such as garlic, parsley, thyme and oregano
  • Berries (especially blueberries and cranberries, these are very rich sources of antioxidants)
  • Fruit such as grapes, tomatoes and watermelon
  • Teas such as matcha and green tea (coffee also contains antioxidants)
  • Seeds and nuts (especially brazil nuts)
  • Many types of seafood contain zinc and manganese
  • Whole grains contain selenium and zinc
  • Lentils such as soybeans, split peas and lentils are rich in antioxidants

Thus concludes today’s look at antioxidants, but we will examine the topic further in future posts. Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you’ll swing by again soon.