Expert Nutritionist Michele Chevalley Hedge reveals to Body & Soul her seven tips for overcoming depression naturally

1. Eat real food Fill your refrigerator with fresh wholefoods. Packaged and processed foods are devoid of vitamins and minerals, especially B vitamins and magnesium. A deficiency of these nutrients can contribute to depressive disorders.

2. Move your body Exercise regulates serotonin and norepinephrine, in much the same way as antidepressants. Get your runners on and your body moving daily.

3. Boost digestion Magnesium has been hailed ‘the great calmer’. High stress and alcohol can contribute to a deficiency in this mineral. Include in your diet magnesium rich foods such as pumpkin seeds, cacao, green leafy vegetables, soybeans, sesame seeds and quinoa.

4. Remove sugar Reducing the amount of sugar as well as consuming balanced meals with the inclusion of good fats and protein lowers the risk of insulin resistance. Studies reveal a connection between high levels of insulin resistance and severe depressive symptoms.

5. Booze blues Reduce your alcohol intake. It can reduce your levels of vitamin B12, which can be a risk factor for depression. Good sources of B12 are often animal-based foods and include snapper, prawns, algaes, sea plants and miso

6. Get outdoors Exposure to sunshine helps improve vitamin D status. Low levels of vitamin D are risk factors for depression and mood disorders. Our bone health and immunity status can also be improved with small doses of sunshine.

7. Fishy business Lower rates of depression have been linked to individuals with a diet high in omega-3 essential fatty acids. Eat salmon, trout, herring, sardines, anchovies, mackerel, flaxseed and walnuts. Many doctors also recommend high-quality fish oil supplements.

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