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Wellness with Natalie: Is it all in your head?

Antidepressant use is skyrocketing at home and abroad. Antidepressants are being prescribed more and more for depression (obviously), anxiety, chronic pain, ADHD and autism. But why is this on the rise? Is it all in our heads?

Well, some genetic factors can contribute to the occurrence of depression. In addition, chronic stress is now believed to be a leading cause of depression. It’s been shown that long-term stress actually damages cells in your body, brain cells included.

This is because long-term stress causes inflammation in the body and, included in this, is the brain. Inflammation really does come from multiple sources though. Stress is one, diet is another.

So this is where things really get interesting. Diet is proving to be more and more of a contributing factor to anxiety, depression and ADHD. Why is this?

Well, the neurons in our gut produce many neurotransmitters which are chemical messengers to the brain. Serotonin (which contributes to feelings of wellbeing and happiness), dopamine (which is responsible for motivation), and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA which helps you relax) are all made in the gut. When poor dietary choices such as refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, processed foods, gluten and chemicals in food such as glyphosate are on the menu, you compromise your gut health and these chemical messengers are just not effectively made.

So your feelings of depression, anxiety and zero motivation may not be all in your head. They are also in your gut.

Now we know that our way of life has evolved into a very fast paced, high stress situation where we don’t pay much attention to what we eat, or we pay too much attention to the wrong things. But for the sake of your brain, our mood and our relationships, we gotta learn to relax and eat better. So reach for your yoga mat, take some time out to meditate or pray and practice some deep breathing to counteract your stress. And forgo the burger and chips for a salad and an apple instead!

Originally published by Loop

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