Your body is a complex machine which requires the right fuel to function to its full potential. While many view food as a means to not feeling hungry, food is, more importantly, a lot more than just a way to fill up your belly.
As Psychiatrist Drew Ramset, MD, an assistant professor at Columbia University, explains, when it comes to mental health and psychiatric disorders, “diet is potentially the most powerful intervention we have.”
We tend to view food as a source of physical health, but we seldom consider its nutritional effects on the brain. This is why many people develop depression and anxiety as a result of nutritional deficiencies.
Here are 8 deficiencies known to cause depression and anxiety.
The B Vitamin Complex consists of 9 different B vitamins that work closely in conjunction with one another to supply the body with energy, repair it at a cellular level, and reduce stress. It has been observed that an overall deficiency of B vitamins is connected with an increased risk of mood disorders, including depression.
The B vitamins can be found in leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and beets.
2. FOLATE (VITAMIN B9)
This vitamin has been found to have a close connection with the development of depression. While it plays an important role in many processes, such as the formation of red blood cells, a folate deficiency has been also connected with an increased risk of major depressive disorder (MDD).
Folate deficiency can even cause a poor response to antidepressant medications, as it plays an important role in the prevention of neural tube defects.
3. VITAMIN B12
This vitamin is important for maintaining healthy nerve cells while also helping in the production of DNA and RNA. It works closely with Vitamin B9. A deficiency of this vitamin translates in brain inflammation and higher rates of depression and dementia.
Magnesium is very effective at relaxing our body and minds. The stress-reducing effects of this mineral can be especially useful in the prevention of anxiety attacks, irritability, depression, and headaches.
Drinking alcohol, soda, and coffee, as well as taking a lot of salt or sugar in our diets, reduces the amount of magnesium in our bodies. The mineral is best found in dark leafy greens, beans, and seaweed.
5. OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
An imbalance in these and the Omega-6 fatty acids does not only affect your physical health. A deficiency in these fatty acids has been linked to an increased risk of depression. It can be found in leafy greens, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, and fatty fish.
This important mineral helps in the control of the body’s response to stress and a deficiency of Zinc has been linked to depression. The best source of Zinc are oysters, which are packed with 500% of your daily need of Zinc.
7. VITAMIN D
The deficiency of this vitamin leads to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which manifests in many ways like depression, and panic disorders. Sunlight is the best source of Vitamin D, and it is the most effective way of metabolizing this vitamin in our body. However, if you fail to get enough sunlight, this vitamin can be found in bee pollen, fortified nut milk, choral, wild mushroom, and spirulina.
8. AMINO ACIDS
For your body to function optimally, it needs 12 different amino acids. These acids allow for an optimal function of the brain while also working as building blocks of protein. It has been observed that a deficiency in amino acids leads to an inability to focus, brain fog, sluggishness, and depression.
Amino acids can be found in bee pollen, seeds, nuts, and beans.