Ditch The Pills - Boost Your Mood With Food


According to a 2016 report in the Journal of American Medical Association one in six Americans are currently taking a prescription medication and the large majority of these are antidepressant medications. According tho this Business Insider article, the OECD conducted a study producing results indicating that antidepressant use in on the rise globally.

Other commonly prescribed medications are anti-anxiety medications such as benzodiazepam (Valium), Lorazopam (Klonopin) and Alprazolam (Xanax). This particular class of drugs, benzodiazemines is extremely dangerous as they are highly addictive and can be fatal when used with other substances.

The most commonly prescribed class of antidepressant drugs prescribed are SSRI’s (Selective Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitors) and they operate by preventing the ‘reuptake’ process by which neurotransmitters (in this case serotonin) are reabsorbed back into nerve cells within the brain. By preventing this from occurring the neurotransmitter stays put in the synapse, a sort of ‘gap’ between the nerves. By keeping neurotransmitter levels elevated healthy communication between the never cells which in turn may strengthen circuits and result in a more regulated affect/mood.

Many individuals suffering from treatment resistant depression and anxiety related issues, mood related disorders or chronic personality disorders and schizophrenia may require medications to help alter their brain chemistry. The issue is that many others are taking medications unnecessarily-that is without trying natural remedies to regulate mood and elevate and/or regulate the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

Talk therapy, exercise and meditation techniques can help tremendously with elevating mood. Yet what many people do not realize is that we can actually increase our dopamine and serotonin production directly by the foods we choose to consume. Tyrosine is an amino acid found in protein-rich foods and also the building block for dopamine. Foods high in tyrosine and shown to increase dopamine include, bananas, almonds, apples, avocados, oregano, leafy greens, fava beans, chocolate, pumpkin seeds, sea vegetables and foods high in probiotics such as yogurt and fermented cabbage.

We have become a pill popping culture and before you decide to pursue the route of medication please ensure that you explore natural remedies in alleviating your stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms. It is equally important to look at the foods you are currently consuming and investigate how they may be negatively impacting your sleep, energy levels and overall mood.

Cover Art by Paul Fuentes