Updated: Oct 19, 2019
Before learning about food as medicine, I often wondered why so many people (including me) are always sick? If you look around you, you'll see an epidemic of people that suffer from some form of mental illness like depression. Could it be down to the food we are consuming? Several recent research studies support that there is a link between what one eats and our risk of essentially "catching" depression.
It is true what they say "being depressed makes us more likely to eat unhealthy foods", but if you've clicked on this blog, chances are you are at the point in your walk with depression to start fighting for your life and surrendering to self-help. First, let's take a look into foods that cause depression and why, and then we'll go over foods you can eat to starve depression.
Foods such as beef, beef fat, pork, bacon, lamb, chicken, dairy, processed meats, hotdogs, cold cuts, and breakfast sausages have a direct link to causing depression because they are high in saturated and trans fat, refined sugars, and are heavily processed.
A shocking realization that is coming to light is exactly how many environmental toxins animals are being exposed to as well as the accumulation of antibiotics, pesticides, steroids, antifungals, and growth hormones in the flesh of these animals. Commercial animals are largely fed GMO corn and soy which are very laden in pesticides.
From what we know of, there are at least 450 different drugs that are administered to animals, either alone, or in combination. These drugs are given to animals for a variety of reasons, very, very few of which are actually beneficial to consumer health. The pharmaceutical industry sells 80% of all the antibiotics that it makes in the United States to animal agriculture. Antibiotic residues are found in the meat, and other antimicrobials are found in meat. The pharmaceutical company is supposed to show the safety of animal drugs, but they are not really testing to see what the impacts of these drugs are on humans. They are really looking to see what the impacts of these drugs are on animals.
This leaves me to ask "how many drugs are in the foods that so many people consume every single day?" and "what does this amount of drugs in our foods do to our brains chemical balance?"
Foods That Starve Depression
Protein in our diet affects our brain performance because it provides the amino acids (protein is made out of amino acids) that made up our neurotransmitters. Think of a neurotransmitter as a biochemical messenger whose job is to carry signals from one brain cell to another. These brain cells then transmit various signals to the different parts of the body to carry out their individual tasks. (Think mother telling daughter to clean her room, and daughter then paying younger brother to do it – the more he’s paid, the cleaner the room) Protein is also effective in our happiness, when we don't eat enough good protein, the brain can't produce enough neurotransmitters such as serotonin which is one of the main chemicals that regulates our moods and dopamine which boosts energy, mental clarity, and makes you feel happier as well as regulates pain, reduces anxiety and initiates deep sleep.
Below are some plant based, whole foods that are high in protein to produce amino acids and essential amino acids (essential amino acids cannot be made by the body, they must be provided by the food we eat). For an average person, you will want to multiply your body weight by 0.36 - the answer you get will determine how many grams of protein you need to consume every day.
Cooked Oats 6 grams of protein per 1/2 cup
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Dry Oats 6 grams of protein per 1/2 cup
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Soybeans 18 grams of protein per cup
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Edamame 18 grams of protein per cup
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Tempeh 16 grams of protein per 3 oz
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Black Beans 7.6 grams of protein per 1/2 cup
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Lentils 9 grams of protein per 1/2 cup
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Lima Beans 7.3 grams of protein per 1/2 cup
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Peanuts 7 grams of protein per 1/4 cup
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Wild Rice 6.5 grams of protein per cup (cooked)
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Chickpeas 6 grams of protein per cup
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Almonds 6 grams of protein per 1/4 cup
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Chia Seeds 6 grams of protein per 2 TBS
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Cashews 5 grams of protein per 1/4 cup
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Pumpkin Seeds 5 grams of protein per 1/4 cup
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Potatoes 4 grams in 1 medium white potato
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Spinach 3 grams of protein per 1/2 cup
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Corn 2.5 grams of protein per 1/2 cup
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Avocado 2 grams of protein per half 1/2 avocado
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Broccoli 2 grams of protein per 1/2 (cooked)
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Brussels Sprouts 2 grams of protein per half1/2 cup
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