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Can some foods help with anxiety and depression?

As a child, food was a matter of happiness; every meal was taken at a table that was properly set and cooking it became central to my upbringing. On my mother's side I was standing on a pallet, I learned to carefully weigh ingredients, separate eggs and beat them with rage until they were obediently in snowy peaks, handling pastry with light contact. Our kitchen sang with voices, smelled with sweetness and was always warm from the often used oven. It was a shock when Mum embarked on her first episode of depression, her hunger was evaporated and suddenly our kitchen was quiet and cold. My siblings and I ate straight from the fridge, feed. When my mother rarely appeared in the kitchen, she was dumb and red-eyed and would turn away all food before returning to her bedroom. I had to force my own food past the lump in my throat; Do as if things were normal for my little brother and sister's sake. For my mother's sake. For my sake. Meal had always been a time to stick together as a family. It was at the table that my mother told her childhood to grow up among the flavors in British India. She described a wide porch overturned around a tall roof house; The smooth, soft salt of saffron yellow dahl; homemade potatislis so thin sliced ​​and perfectly fried they were better than bought. But when Mum got sick, the meal time, like food, lost our taste. It…

As a child, food was a matter of happiness; every meal was taken at a table that was properly set and cooking it became central to my upbringing. On my mother’s side I was standing on a pallet, I learned to carefully weigh ingredients, separate eggs and beat them with rage until they were obediently in snowy peaks, handling pastry with light contact. Our kitchen sang with voices, smelled with sweetness and was always warm from the often used oven.

It was a shock when Mum embarked on her first episode of depression, her hunger was evaporated and suddenly our kitchen was quiet and cold. My siblings and I ate straight from the fridge, feed. When my mother rarely appeared in the kitchen, she was dumb and red-eyed and would turn away all food before returning to her bedroom. I had to force my own food past the lump in my throat; Do as if things were normal for my little brother and sister’s sake. For my mother’s sake. For my sake.

Meal had always been a time to stick together as a family. It was at the table that my mother told her childhood to grow up among the flavors in British India. She described a wide porch overturned around a tall roof house; The smooth, soft salt of saffron yellow dahl; homemade potatislis so thin sliced ​​and perfectly fried they were better than bought. But when Mum got sick, the meal time, like food, lost our taste. It was obviously an unfortunate barometer of Mum’s mood.

When it was obvious, mum’s misery was here and stopped and when we had spent months seeking difficult answers to recovery everywhere &#821

1; on the psychiatrist’s couch, at her counseling times in SSRI and lithium pharmacological cocktails and tricyclic antidepressants – I trawled the Internet for a solution. And food, I read, could apparently be much more than nutrition.

Some foods – avocados, turkey, salmon, nuts – clearly had the power to influence mood, I read. If food made us happy, could it in the right amount of the right composition make Mamma happy again?

So I tried: I scraped an avocado in half, sprinkled her sage green meat with salt: “Try this,” I said when I handed it over to her. Mom curled into a chair that pretends to lie and was on a diet of tea and biscuits, so that her whereabouts could always be derived from an incriminating trace of crumbs, ate it with something between disgust and apathy, because one could consume medicine as course – I hoped it could be. Avocado made no difference. I continued. Regular turkey sandwiches made a short appearance, bowls of nuts became a constant as Mum picked on uninteresting. All of these foods probably call for the cerebral serotonin snagging, pushing endorphins forward to make us happy. They never did. I should not have been surprised.

Michael Gershon, professor of pathology and cell biology at Columbia University and author of “The Second Brain”, is often referred to as the father of neuro-gastroenterology for his work examining the relationship between the GI tract and the brain. He recognizes the connection between what we eat and how we feel, but says it would be impossible to eat from a depressing section: “One of the transmitters in the brain serotonin is made in the body from tryptophan, an amino acid. If you eat steak (or turkey or avocado or salmon) you get tryptophan, the more tryptophan you eat, the more enter the brain and the more serotonin you do, but you would need to eat a lot of steak to raise serotonin noticeably, it would not be an effective way to Changing mood, it would not be as effective as an SSRI. “

I would read the dark chocolate, the type that has a high proportion of cocoa paste substances, seems to have the ability to lift mood. Cocoa contains compounds called polyphenols, which studies suggest may reduce anxiety, a condition that often underlines and aggravates depression. I imagined bowls full of confectionery, fat with soothing cocoa and energy-consuming sugar sweetener mom’s life.

Besides that, like with steak, you can’t cure depression by eating chocolate; researchers at the Neuroscience School at Virginia Tech, who observed the cocoa link, warn that their results are only useful as much as the magical ingredients of cocoa can one day, in the right amount, be utilized as another treatment. Chocolate really meets a volatile need, but it is a short-lived heap that depends on delightful taste and feeling and sugar. And then you crash the result of falling blood sugar – never good if you struggle with the drowsiness of depression. Chocolate does not prove to deliver a long-lasting happiness.

But of course it wasn’t just my mother’s appetite for food that disappeared when she got sick, it was her appetite for everything – for cooking, to laugh, to live.

English scholar Robert Burton wrote in his classic 18th century compendium, “The Anatomy of Melancholy”, “Don’t be alone, wasn’t vacant”. But when depression steals, it is difficult for patients to remain busy. Instead of trying to find food that would miraculously heal her and urge Mum to eat, should I have urged her to do ?

Our kitchen was cold and quiet. Would the preparation of food for a person struggling with depression have been more useful than eating? Psychotherapist Terry Lynch, author of “Depression Delusion” and other mental health books, thinks it; “Making step by step, working through the stages is important,” he wrote in an email. He regularly recommends that people suffering from depression do – “take small steps often; start, work through to completion. The person may feel a strong call not to do – but with the repetition of the doing, momentum can start kicking in rather than inertia that is a recurrent characteristic of depression. “

And I am struck by the word” inertia. “I asked my mother one day,” How are you, mother? “I am inert, came the answer. There is no cooking that day.

Camille Lassale, a researcher on public health, aging, nutrition and epidemiology who has published the links between diet and depression, is consistent with the imperatives of “doing”.

Diet, she says, can affect mental health in a good and bad way: “A poor diet can cause brain damage that can be due to oxidative stress, insulin resistance, changes in blood flow and inflammation. Conversely, a diet rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant components affect the brain by protecting it from oxidative stress and inflammation that can interfere with the neurotransmitters responsible for regulating emotions. “But she says depression is complicated” Characterized by feelings of interest in activities, low mood and changes in sleep and appetite. ” Mark Hyman, Head of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine and Founder and Head of the UltraWellness Center, says: “Diet is not the solution to healing depression, but it is an important part of the puzzle. Exercise, stress management, society, purpose, meaning, Therapy and more are all important parts of the management of depression. People often look for the magic bullet that will solve their disease, and there is usually no. “

Mom’s disease meant that decades came and went. No matter preceded it, no matter constituted a section. But when it went, her depression always disappeared at a rate that surprised me, sometimes seemingly overnight. And I wondered how a thing that had weighed all our lives for so long could go up and leave with such brightness, such speed?

One morning, just one morning, Mom would just sweep into my bedroom, dressed, smiling, comrade. “What do we all eat for breakfast today?” She asks. “Eggs, toast, porridge?” She would observe the sky as she pulled my curtains open. “Looks like a day for porridge,” she would say she laughed. “Up you get!”

When depression came, it took away its hunger. When it went, she was consumed by greed: for food, for cooking.

For life, mostly.

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Faela