Renowned brain expert and psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen has helped millions find natural ways to alleviate and ease anxiety and depression. He’s written several books on the topic, one of which is called “The Brain Warrior’s Way” in which he shares 8 natural depression remedies.
AND he told us about it on our episode with him. Listen to the full episode here!
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a key role in your body’s ability to absorb calcium and phosphorus. It’s also necessary for the development of bones and teeth, as well as for muscle and immune function.
You can get vitamin D through food, including fish like salmon and tuna, eggs, fortified dairy products such as milk or yogurt—or you can take supplements. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with depression, although the exact cause isn’t known.
Omega-3 fish oils
Omega-3 fatty acids are not only helpful for depression but also the health of your brain, heart and circulation. They help regulate neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine — all chemicals that affect mood. Studies show that people with diets high in omega-3’s have lower rates of depression than those who don’t.
Dr Amen recommends 1g per day if taken as a supplement, or two servings (2 oz) of oily fish per week if consumed through food. If you’re taking a prescription antidepressant, always talk with your doctor before adding an omega-3 supplement because there may be interactions between these medications.
Curcumin, a natural substance found in the spice turmeric, is an active ingredient in many dietary supplements. Turmeric has been a staple in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years and has been used as a natural treatment for depression. It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that can help reduce symptoms of depression by reducing inflammation in the brain. Studies show that it also increases serotonin levels and reduces stress hormones like cortisol.
Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of a saffron crocus. It’s been used for thousands of years, and is thought to help with depression symptoms thanks to its high levels of antioxidants and vitamins.
You can take saffron in capsule form or as a tea. Saffron pills are available online or at your local health food store; they’re sold in bottles containing 60 capsules, which range from $10-$20 depending on where you purchase them. You can also make your own saffron tea by boiling water with two tablespoons, ground cinnamon, cardamom seeds and cloves. Once the spices have cooled down enough so they aren’t scalding hot anymore, but still warm enough that they’ll release their flavors into the water (about 10 minutes), add one tablespoon of ground saffron threads and let steep until cool enough to drink (about 15 minutes).
Dr Amen suggests 1-3g per day—this comes out roughly to 8mg per day if you’re using pre-made capsules and about half that much if using loose powder straight from its original container.
Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants, which help your body detoxify from environmental stressors. Antioxidants also help reduce inflammation and improve brain function. Plus, they are low in calories, high in vitamins and minerals (including B12), high in fiber, and contain water that keeps you hydrated without extra calories or sugar!
Dr. Amen recommends eating five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day. A serving is 1 cup raw or a 1/2 cup cooked.
Lavender essential oil is used in aromatherapy to reduce anxiety and stress, as well as depression. It also helps with insomnia and pain relief. The oil can be inhaled or applied topically. I rub mine on my wrists everynight before bed and inhale!! It’s so good and calming for the nervous system.
Sun lamp or light therapy
Light therapy is a treatment that uses specific wavelengths of light to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and depression. It is a safe, effective and non-invasive treatment. While light therapy can be used in conjunction with other treatments for depression, it’s important to consult your doctor before using any new treatment.
Sun lamps or artificial sunlight boxes are often used as part of the light therapy process. Sun lamps simulate natural daylight and provide therapeutic levels of UVB rays that help you feel better. However, it’s important to note that sunlamps do not provide UVA rays or blue light like natural sunlight does—so they need to be combined with bright outdoor activities during the day when possible (for example: walking on sunny days).
15 minutes brisk walk
Don’t discount the power of a nice walk! It can improve your mood and reduce stress – our bodies need movement! Walking outside in the sun during daylight hours also helps boost vitamin D levels, which we learned low levels of vitamin D can be linked to depression. If possible, walk by yourself so you have time to reflect on your day and recharge your battery before returning home after work or school.
I hope these remedies and tools are helpful for you! Remember, it is never too late to start taking care of you.