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Depression, Anxiety & Stress: Herbs, Supplements & Diet Guidelines

For those who are struggling with depression, anxiety, sleep deprivation and stress, read on. While you are about it make a cup of green tea. One of the components in green tea L-Theanine is proving to have excellent anti-anxiety effects. L-Theanine is the major amino acid found in green tea. It seemingly works to relieve anxiety by increasing the levels of GABA, dopamine and serotonin. L-Theanine is believed to help reduce blood pressure, both systolic and diastolic.

Diet Guidelines

After the tea indulge in a selection from your counter top and fridge of fruits and vegetables bursting with antioxidants! The best sources of the most important ones like beta carotene, vitamins C and E are fruits and vegetables such as:

  • apricots
  • broccoli
  • cantaloupe
  • carrots
  • collards
  • peaches
  • pumpkin
  • spinach
  • sweet potatoes
  • blueberries
  • broccoli
  • grapefruit
  • kiwi
  • oranges
  • peppers
  • potatoes
  • strawberries
  • nuts and seeds
  • vegetable oils
  • wheat germ

These help prevent free radical damage, particularly important when one needs to protect one’s brain. The brain may be more at risk for free radical damage, when one is stressed or depressed.


Do not forget to eat a well-balanced diet for the most part to ensure that you are getting all the nutrients necessary for the bodies’ growth, repair and wellness. Eat nutrient rich foods, preferably organic; as this means substances such as pesticides and so on which might interfere with hormones should not be present. Make sure your diet includes all sources of vitamins, minerals, proteins and carbohydrates and most importantly the right fats, which leads to our next point.

Omega 3

It is particularly vital for the depressed, stressed and so forth, as well as everyone else – to include omega 3 fatty acids in the diet. They have numerous benefits, but the most applicable to what we are discussing is the good results they have yielded when treating depression.  Omega 3 fatty acids are broken down into EPA and DHA, which are necessary for the brain. EPA and DHA are the brains building blocks, as well as helping increase mental alertness and cognitive functioning. They also assist with the forming of neurotransmitters, such as phosphatidylserine. The best sources of omega 3’s include fatty fish, such as anchovy, mackerel, salmon, sardines and so forth, as well as flaxseed and various nuts.

Sunlight (Vitamin D)

Do not underestimate the importance of spending time in the sun on a regular basis. This is easier in the southern hemisphere, but in the northern hemisphere this can be difficult in the winter months. If this is so for you then consider supplementing with vitamin D. For the depressed and particularly those with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) it is important to remember that these conditions are most common in areas where vitamin D levels decline over the course of the year.


Reach for the carbohydrates, but choose wisely. The intake of carbohydrates and mood are intricately linked with the elevation of the levels of the mood boosting hormone, serotonin. Experts suspect there is a link between carbohydrate cravings and a decrease In serotonin activity. Limit yourself to whole grains such as pumpernickel, oats, rye and so forth which all also contain good levels of fibre. Rather do not indulge in simple carbohydrates such as chips and biscuits.

Vitamin B

There are some natural sources of the vitamin B family worth mentioning such as dark leafy greens, organ meats and whole grains. But if you are very stressed and anxious then consider supplementing with a combination of B vitamins that includes: Thiamin (vitamin B1), Riboflavin (vitamin B2), Niacin (vitamin B3), Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12, Biotin, Pantothenic Acid (vitamin B5), Magnesium, Choline and Inositol. The combination of B vitamins work well together to support an maintain the nervous system and help decrease one levels of stress and anxiety, as well as help increase energy levels.     Please make sure that any supplementation is as per the dosage instructions on the bottle and conducted under the advice of a trained health practitioner.

Get enough sleep

Do not underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep, even more so do not underestimate the anti-depressant effects of regular normal healthy sleep. For many sufferers of depression, their depression is rooted in disrupted and irregular sleep patterns. Some of the nicest supplements for aiding sleep are GABA and melatonin. GABA is a highly recommended calmative, as it helps decrease ones anxiety levels and helps calm the brains neurotransmitters. Melatonin is the hormone which actual helps regulate the natural sleep rhythms in the body. The GABA should work quickly to calm and relax. Melatonin is a supplement which may take a while for one to feel its effectiveness. Melatonin is not a quick fix for most suffering with sleeplessness, as the pattern of sleeplessness has been established - in many cases over a period of months or years, so it can take up to six month for the sleep patterns to reset. Please make sure that any supplementation with either of these is as per the dosage instructions on the bottle and conducted under the advice of a trained health practitioner.



5-Hydroxytryptophan or 5-HTP, without a doubt, is the single most helpful supplement for depression and anxiety. 5-HTP is also helpful for sleeplessness, as it is precursor to melatonin, and also serotonin, the feel-good hormone. Please note 5-HTP is to be used as an alternative to the prescribed anti-depressants, as it will clash with them. Pharmaceutical antidepressants, for instance SSRIs work by prohibiting most of the uptake of serotonin, thereby gradually elevating the serotonin levels in the system. The problem in many cases is that they also have the following side effects - nervousness, agitation or restlessness and insomnia to name a few. 5-HTP has proven effective in the treatment of depression and also sleeplessness, mood regulation and anxiety. Please make sure that any supplementation with 5-HTP is as per the dosage instructions on the bottle and conducted under the advice of a trained health practitioner.

St John's Wort

A milder alternative is St John’s Wort. It is one of the most commonly recommended herbs for depression, it has also been noted that it has the following benefits: it reduces anxiety, has mood calming benefits, relieves pain, tension and inflammation. It is conveniently available in capsules and tincture. Please note it is a mild sedative. The major side effect to be aware of is that it interferes with the workings of the contraceptive pill. Also do not supplement with St John’s Wort if you are on a prescribed anti-depressant. Please make sure that any supplementation with St John’s Wort is as per the dosage instructions on the bottle and conducted under the advice of a trained health practitioner.

Ginkgo Biloba

Lastly if you are struggling with brain fog consider trying Ginkgo Biloba. Ginkgo Biloba increases circulation and improves blood flow particularly to the brain, as well as the eyes. It helps with mental clarity and focus. It can also be taken in tea, capsule or tincture forms. Please be careful of supplementation with Gingko Biloba if you have elevated blood pressure or any similar condition. Please make sure that any supplementation with Ginkgo Biloba is as per the dosage instructions on the bottle and conducted under the advice of a trained health practitioner.

Hopefully after reading this you may feel that there are some natural alternatives, which can assist you with depression, anxiety and stress, as well as the related disorders such as sleeplessness. Please just ensure that any supplementation with any of the above is done under the advice of a trained health practitioner.


About The Author:
After eight years in the retail side of the health industry, much accumulation of knowledge and information I changed industries completely and gone back to my graphic design roots. I still wish to help inform people on natural alternatives, as well as help people when they are choosing to use natural alternatives to treat disorders, diseases and distresses.
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Posted in: Health by on December 16, 2014 @ 4:27 pm

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