Lifestyle Works

Physical Causes Of Depression

Depression is a misery that many people are suffering the world over, perhaps more pronounced in the western world due to the lifestyles we live.

Some events that can lead to depression include;

• Job loss

• Loss of a loved one

• Childbirth

• Chronic disease or illness

• After an accident

• Anything traumatic in one's life.

Depression is common for anyone who goes through a major incidence in his or her life. It can be incredibly strong or relatively mild, but either way, it is uncomfortable and a hindrance to living a full life.

Depression can greatly affect the mood, can include loss of sex drive, insomnia or the opposite being excessive sleep, headaches, irritability to name a few, and greatly affect our performance in our daily activities. When depression continues for a length of time, even with professional help and medication, it can be extremely beneficial to consider looking into nutritional deficiencies and imbalances.

Omega-3 fats have been found to regulate and improve the performance of neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin. Neurotransmitters convey messages from one cell to another and serotonin is essential in the case of depression, as it has the ability to make one feel happy. Low amounts of Omega-3 are associated with depression.

An under-active thyroid is one of the more common causes of depression. Often as a result of stress and poor nutrition. Thyroxine is a hormone which tells the brain and body cells to stay active. Nutrients including iodine, tyrosine, zinc and selenium are all important in supporting the thyroid gland.

Amino acids are the basis for the body's production of important neurotransmitters in the body. Stress and poor diet can deplete the production of these neurotransmitters and supplementing with tryptophan keeps depression at bay. To follow on from that, the B vitamins, Vitamin C, magnesium, iron, zinc deficiency, B3, B6, B12, Folic Acid are all needed to help the body change amino acids into neurotransmitters. Deficiencies of some of these vitamin levels affect homocysteine levels, causing inflammation of the brain and body, and has now been linked with depression and other mental health problems.

One must be aware of food allergies and intolerances. A number of foods are known to cause mental health problems, including depression. The most common one is wheat; others include dairy products, oranges, eggs, non-wheat grains, foods which contain yeast, shellfish, nuts, soy and the nightshade family. When the body reacts to an allergen, it creates an immune system response. This can result in raised histamine levels, which in turn have been linked to depression.

~Information taken from: July 7, 2009.


Carrots are nutritional heroes, they store a goldmine of nutrients. No other vegetable or fruit contains as much carotene as carrots, which the body converts to vitamin A. The high level of beta-carotene gives carrots their distinctive orange colour.

This is a truly versatile vegetable and an excellent source of vitamins B and C as well as calcium pectate, an extraordinary pectin fibre that has been found to have cholesterol-lowering properties.

The carrot is an herbaceous plant containing about 87% water, rich in mineral salts and potassium; they contain vitamin thiamine, folic acid, copper, and magnesium.

Carrots also contain, in smaller amounts, essential oils, carbohydrates and nitrogenous composites. They are well-known for their sweetening, antianaemic, healing, diuretic, remineralizing and sedative properties.

Carrots were originally purple or red, with a thin root. The species did not turn orange until the 1500's when Dutch growers used a mutant yellow carrot seed from North Africa to develop a carrot in the colour of the House of Orange, the Dutch Royal Family. The first carrots were grown for medicinal purposes, perhaps the medicine tasted good so they became a common food!

In order to assimilate the greatest quantity of the nutrients present in carrots, it is important to chew them well and they are more nutritious cooked than raw. Clearly a carrot has more goodness in it when it is raw and therefore you would assume it is the healthiest way to eat it. But unlike most other vegetables (though not all), carrots are more nutritious when eaten cooked than eaten raw (except when juiced). Because raw carrots have tough cellular walls, the body is able to convert less than 25 per cent of their beta carotene into vitamin A. Cooking, however, partially dissolves cellulose-thickened cell walls, freeing up nutrients by breaking down the cell membranes. It has been proved that boiling and steaming better preserves antioxidants, particularly carotenoid, in carrots, than frying.

The downside of cooking vegetables is that it can destroy some of the vitamin C in them. The reason is that Vitamin C, which is highly unstable, is easily degraded through oxidation, exposure to heat and through cooking in water.

Also most of the goodness is actually in, or just below the skin.

~Information derived from &

Recipe of the Month

Carrot Cake

½ c warm water
2 T yeast
¾ c honey
1½ t coriander
1½ t orange rind
1½ c finely grated carrot
½ c soy milk
1 t maple syrup or 1 T molasses

2-2½ c whole wheat flour
2 t honey
½ c walnuts, chopped
¼ c coconut
½ c oil
½ t salt
1 t vanilla
pinch anise, optional

In a bowl, combine warm water, yeast and 2 t honey. Let stand until it bubbles, then add all remaining ingredients except whole wheat flour. Mix well then stir in flour. (If you have instant dry yeast just combine all ingredients at once and mix well.) Pour into oiled pan. Sprinkle coconut on top and let it stand 10-15 minutes in a warm place. Preheat oven to 180°C and bake for 45-60 minutes. Can also be made into cupcakes and baked in a muffin tin.