According to a recent study, the number of teens experiencing depression has spiked since 2011, and teenage girls are more prone to depression than boys at this age. The researchers suggest social media may be part of the problem.
Analyzing federal data from 2005 to 2014 revealed an estimated 500,000 American teens struggle with depression, and more than three-quarters of them are girls.
“The findings are just the latest in a steady stream of research showing that women of all ages experience higher rates of depression compared to men, says psychologist and author Catherine Steiner-Adair.
And no wonder, she says — despite gains in employment, education and salary, women and girls are still ‘continually bombarded by media messages, dominant culture, humor and even political figures about how they look — no matter how smart, gifted or passionate they are.’
Today’s constant online connections — via texting, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, — can exacerbate that harsh focus on looks and other judgments from peers …”
Mental disorders are also the second most common cause of disability among Americans of both sexes, having risen sharply since 1980.4 What can be done to turn this destructive tide?
Diet and Mental Health
Research shows your diet can have a profound effect on your mental health.5,6 Gastrointestinal abnormalities have been linked to a variety of psychological problems, including depression, anxiety, hyperactivity and schizophrenia.
Part of the explanation for this relates to the fact that you have, in a very real sense, not one but two brains — one in your head and one in your gut — connected via your vagus nerve, which runs from your brain stem to your abdomen.
It is now well established that the vagus nerve is the primary route your gut bacteria use to transmit information to your brain,7 which helps explain why mental health can be so intricately connected to your gut microbiome.8
For example, fermented foods have been shown to curb social anxiety disorder in young adults,9,10 and animal research found obsessive-compulsive repetitive behaviors were pacified by introducing a strain of the bacterium Bacteroides fragilis.11
Molecules traveling via your immune system can also influence your brain’s function.12
Bacteria Produce Mood-Boosting Brain Chemicals
Gut bacteria actually produce mood-boosting neurotransmitters. In fact, the greatest concentration of serotonin is found in your intestines, not your brain. However, they likely work locally as intestinally produced neurotransmitters do not pass the blood brain barrier. As noted in a previous New York Times article on this topic:13
“Microorganisms in our gut secrete a profound number of chemicals, and researchers … have found that among those chemicals are the same substances used by our neurons to communicate and regulate mood, like dopamine, serotonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).
These, in turn, appear to play a function in intestinal disorders, which coincide with high levels of major depression and anxiety. [In 2014], for example, a group in Norway examined feces from 55 people and found certain bacteria were more likely to be associated with depressive patients.”
What’s more, gut microbes can also alter the way in which your central nervous system uses these neurochemicals. In one experiment designed to investigate the influence of microbes on depression, researchers performed fecal transplants, transferring stool samples from human patients into rats.14
The rats who received stool from patients diagnosed with depression rapidly began exhibiting signs of depression and anxiety. According to one of the researchers, “Their behavior does quite dramatically change.” The rats who received stool from non-depressed individuals had no changes in behavior.
Based on these findings (which were never published), the researchers warn that people who opt for fecal transplants for health reasons would be wise to screen the fecal donor for a history of mental illness in addition to other transmissible diseases.
Healing Your Gut May Ease Your Mental Troubles
Researchers are increasingly starting to view gut inflammation as the root of depression, and one of the quickest and easiest ways to address this problem is by making the appropriate dietary changes. As a general rule, to cultivate a healthy gut flora trough your diet:
• Eat real food and avoid processed foods. According to one 2009 study, a processed food diet may increase your risk of depression by as much as 60 percent, whereas a whole food diet is protective.15,16
Be particularly vigilant about avoiding refined sugars (especially processed fructose), dairy and gluten. Other processed food ingredients that promote depression are:
• Genetically engineered ingredients, as they have been shown to significantly alter your gut flora by promoting pathogens and decimating beneficial microbes.
• Non-organic, industrially produced food loaded with glyphosate, which has been shown to cause nutritional deficiencies, especially minerals, critical for brain function and mood control.
Glyphosate can also destroy cellular tight junctions and change the permeability of the blood brain barrier, allowing substances to enter the brain that were never designed to.
• Artificial food additives, especially the artificial sweetener aspartame, can wreak havoc with your brain function. Both depression and panic attacks are known potential side effects of aspartame consumption. Other additives, such as artificial colorings, are also known to impact mood.
• Eat traditionally fermented and cultured foods each day; the more variety the better.
• Eat plenty of fiber, found in most fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens, flax, hemp and chia seeds, berries, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts, root vegetables, peas and beans, as well as prebiotic foods17 (foods that feed probiotics or healthy bacteria) such as garlic, leeks, onion, dandelion greens and asparagus.
Prebiotics are indigestible food ingredients that provide no nutrition per se. Their purpose is to nourish the friendly bacteria inside your GI tract.
• Normalize your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio by increasing animal-based omega-3 from fish (good options include wild Alaskan salmon, sardines and anchovies) and/or krill oil, and reduce omega-6 by avoiding processed foods and vegetable oils. An ideal ratio is about 1:1. Although omega-3s are most well known for their role in heart health, they also play an integral role in brain health and mental health.
Also avoid the following, which are known to harm your gut microbiome:
• Chlorinated water
• Antibacterial soap
• Agricultural chemicals
Increasing Vegetable Consumption May Quickly Improve Mental Wellbeing
Most recently, researchers in New Zealand found increasing consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables may improve your mental wellbeing in as little as two weeks. According to Medical News Today:18 “[Y]oung adults who were given extra fruits and vegetables each day for 14 days ate more of the produce and experienced a boost in motivation and vitality.”
American dietary guidelines suggest eating two cups of fruit and two to three cups of vegetables daily, but many fail to get even a fraction of this amount. In this study, the treatment group received two additional servings of fresh fruits and vegetables, including carrots, kiwi, apples and oranges each day for two weeks, while the control group continued their normal diet.
Those who ate the most fruits and vegetables, averaging 3.7 servings per day, experienced the most pronounced improvements in psychological well-being, especially improvements in “vitality, motivation and flourishing.” According to the authors, “Findings provide initial validation of a causal relationship between [fruits and vegetables] and well-being, suggesting that large-scale intervention studies are warranted.”
Sunlight and Vitamin D Also Affect Your Mental Health
Besides diet, sunlight also has a profound impact on your mental health — more so than any other weather phenomenon. That was the conclusion of a recent study looking at links between weather and depression in a group of students.19 It’s been estimated20 that as many as 20 percent of Americans are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) each winter, suffering from the blues, fatigue and in some cases, more serious depression, as sunlight grows scarce.
What differentiates SAD from regular depression is that a full remission occurs in the spring and summer months. Indeed, as the days got shorter through fall and winter, self-reports of depression rose, whether the student had been diagnosed with SAD or not. According to the authors:
“These findings suggest the need for institutions and public health entities to plan for intervention and prevention resources and strategies during periods of reduced sun time.”
The researchers note that more research is needed to evaluate related factors such as vitamin D intake, amount of time actually spent outdoors and sunbed use. Indeed, vitamin D deficiency is strongly associated with a higher risk of depression.
Magic Mushrooms — a Game Changer for Severe Anxiety and Depression?
Interestingly, mounting research suggests psilocybin, also known as magic mushrooms, may be a game changer in the treatment for severe depression and anxiety. Between 80 and 90 percent of cancer patients in two separate studies achieved immediate and long-lasting relief from anxiety and fear of death from a single dose. A major part of this remarkable recovery appears to be related to the spiritual intensity of the experience.
Apart from the spiritual reconnection itself, the feeling of love and being “one” with everything also appears to result in alterations in the brain — a mechanism ascribed to neuroplasticity, where your brain actually changes in accordance to experience. A majority of the participants ranked it among “the most meaningful” experiences of their lives, which in turn resulted in a feeling that everything has purpose, including their own struggles.
In my view, it is lack of life meaning and lack of connection to something larger than ourselves that pervades the lives of so many these days, and the answer is not to shut down or mask your emotions with a pill. The relief you seek is more likely to be found through careful soul searching and implementation of strategies to boost your emotional resilience, which can include non-denominational meditation and spiritual practices according to your own proclivities and spiritual bend.
Psilocybin is presently classified as an illegal drug and cannot be used as a psychiatric treatment outside of research, but this could potentially change in the future. Until then, I would encourage you to seek out those things that add meaning and purpose to your life.
Breakfast, blood sugar, & inflammation
Recent research has shown that Inflammation is responsible for 7 out of 10 Deaths in the United States. But it doesn’t have to be the same way for you.
In fact, in a fairly short amount of time, you could start to experience better sleep…less stomach issues…more energy and stamina…less muscle and joint pain…a drop in weight…lower stress levels…and much, much more!
Learn how to Prevent—Even Reverse—Most Major Diseases by “Turning Off” Inflammation!
Did you know that one of the best times to stretch is right before bed? However…
What stretches should you do? Here’s a 1-minute stretch routine you can do before bed...
Lisa, Yoga Coach
eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody
...easy, 3-minute exercise that completely cured his horrendous snoring! We can both finally sleep!
Today is a good day. Tonight will be even better. Why?
Because you're about to learn easy throat exercises that cure (not just treated) your stubborn snoring – in 3 minutes – starting TONIGHT!
...even if straps, sprays and even torturing CPAP masks have failed you in the past.
Most people heal their snoring in just a few minutes per day using these powerful throat exercises. And they're so easy, you can do them, regardless of your age or physical shape.
Use them anytime, anywhere... even while stuck in traffic or watching TV.
Plus the results are permanent!
Did you know that your bodyfat can become "calorie-resistant"?
True. And it's completely unaffected by even the strictest diets... and most intense exercises.
However, there's good news- Calorie-resistant bodyfat can be now removed...
It's a little-known, calorie-burning hormone we all have... just waiting for the right spark to come alive. It's not thyroid, leptin, ghrelin, insulin, adiponectin, HGH or any other "fat loss" hormone you may know. Read more to find out precisely how to unleash its calorie-burning power:
To your health!
PS - Studies show that it can also reduce your risk of diabetes by 53.7%, a heart attack by 83.3% and stroke by 51.4%. Here's more of the scientific proof...
I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat. This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.
d) Hip Flexors
Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!
In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.
See, every year 610,000 people in the U.S. die of heart disease. Cancer claims another 584,000...stroke 130,000...Alzheimer's disease nearly 85,000 — and the list goes on.
Truth is, we now know... chronic inflammation is responsible for 7 out of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States! Hundreds of studies and scientific reviews prove it.
Fortunately, newer research shows you can prevent-even reverse-most major diseases by "turning off" inflammation. And in our new book, we show you how to do just that.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a debilitating condition-and you"re not sure what the culprit is-now's the time to find out...while you can still do something about it!
--> Grab your FREE copy of this groundbreaking soft cover book today (while supplies still last.)
Over the past year, my friend Dave over at PaleoHacks has been working on a super secret cookbook project with our good friend Peter Servold a Le Cordon Bleu trained Chef and owner of Pete's Paleo...
And today, this new incredible Paleo Cookbook is finally available to be shipped right to your door for FREE!
The cookbook is called Paleo Eats, and it's filled with over 80 chef created, insanely tasty Paleo recipes which means they are free from gluten, soy, dairy, and refined sugar.
Get your FREE copy of Paleo Eats Here. (Grab this today, because they only ordered a small batch of these cookbooks for this freebie promotion, and they will sell out FAST!)
Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!
5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.