“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and [why] art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, for the help of his countenance.” —Psalm 42:5.
Depression affects 200 million people world- wide, which is one person out of thirty of the world’s population. In the United States, it will affect 19 million Americans this year, or one person out of sixteen. In the United States alone, the cost of dealing with this disease is $70 billion per year. It approaches the amount spent on heart disease, the number one cause of death in this country. The United States antidepressant drug sales have risen 800 percent to $10.2 billion since 1990. The number of people taking antidepression medication has also steadily increased. The World Health Organization reports that, by the year 2020, depression will likely be the second leading cause of disease worldwide.
Depression knows no cultural, social, or economic barriers. It afflicts people of every age, race, religion, and educational background. More people are suffering from depression now than in previous generations.
For deliverance from depression to take place, we must determine what the causes and symptoms of the depression are. Depression is one of the most common forms of mental illness, a common mood disorder. Some of the symptoms of depression which are often present include feelings of persistent sadness and gloom, reduced physical activity, feelings of irrational anxiety, and a sense of hopelessness. Depressed people may have other symptoms such as difficulty concentrating; their sleep and appetite may be affected; they may feel tired all the time, may lose interest in life, experience negative thinking, and have thoughts of suicide.
What brings about such a condition as depression? What are some of the causative factors? Some cases of depression appear suddenly for no apparent reason; others are brought about by stressful life events such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or job loss. Research has also confirmed that some cases of depression are brought on slowly and subtly over time by poor lifestyle habits. Science has identified several factors, which can promote and even intensify feelings of hopelessness and despair. Some of these factors include alcohol, smoking, caffeine, physical inactivity, improper diet, stressful living circumstances, food allergies, high blood pressure medication, and various other medications.
How can one be delivered from depression? While medication can sometimes provide temporary relief from symptoms, we find chronic use of antidepressants can lead to physical and emotional dependency and may actually deepen the depression. God has something better; there is a way out. Nearly all types of depression will respond to some fundamental basic methods. The eight principles of GOD’S PLAN—Godly trust, Open air, Daily exercise, Sunshine, Proper rest, Lots of water, Always temperate, and Nutrition—can be incorporated in one’s life to bring about the positive results.
There is deliverance from depression. We must have a firm trust and hold upon God. And in conjunction with this, we need to develop proper lifestyle habits. We need tasks with a purpose. We all need to be productive. We need to have a feeling of accomplishment, completion, and satisfaction in doing something useful each day. We need to have structure and regularity, observing regular hours for eating, sleeping, and working. We need to have a healthful diet, eating fresh natural foods, which give an increase of mental and physical energy. Eating plenty of fresh fruits for a day or two can do wonders in clearing the mind; going on a one or two-day fast, getting adequate rest, and incorporating periods of quietness and calm are especially important. Sleep deprivation can set off or intensify depression. Most people feel their best with seven to eight hours of sleep, daily exercise, and 30 to 40 minutes of aerobic- type activity such as brisk walking, bicycling, or hiking. These stimulate the release of mood altering natural chemicals called endorphins. Ecclesiastes 11:7 says, “Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun.” Daily sunlight has been used successfully for many years in the treatment of many types of depression. Trust in God is very important. Bearing heavy burdens alone is enough to crush one’s spirit. The Bible encourages us to cast all our cares upon Him who cares about us and He will sustain us. 1 Peter 5:7; Psalm 55:22. We need to educate ourselves to express thanks, praising God for the many blessings that He has given us. Learn to talk hope and faith; this can have a positive impact upon your life.
Many who are depressed do not know that the kinds of foods they partake of is a causative factor in determining their mental state. With this concept in mind, we need to explore the different kinds of foods that can cause depression. It is also important to examine the scientific evidence of how food affects the mental state of individuals.
What kinds of foods do people turn to when depressed? The most common foods to cause mental disturbance are sugar, milk, and milk products. “Sugars are closely linked to feelings of despair, depression, alienation, and sugar strengthens feelings of individuality.” Annemarie Colbin, Food and Healing, Ballantine Books, New York, 1986, 290.
Wheat can cause unpleasant allergic reactions, often in the form of moodiness and depression. Wheat is an ingredient found in many of the foods we eat. Other common culprits are caffeine, coffee, carbonated beverages, and chocolate. “By restricting the sugar and caffeine intake of people with depression, it has been reported to elevate moods in preliminary research.” W. Lininger Schuyler (Editor), et. al., The Natural Pharmacy, Prima Publishing, New York, 1999, 50.
Sugar, food colorings, and foods that are low in folic acid and vitamin B12 are associated with and can contribute to depression. Here we see scientific research has shown that foods can cause depression. Eating for comfort or overindulging often leads to obesity and bulimia, which is a part of the depression cycle.
Let’s review some scientific facts in regard to foods that can cause depression. In the book Depression: The Way Out, Dr. Neil Nedly states, “Diet has such a profound effect on human metabolism that it comes as no surprise that there are many interrelationships between the foods we eat and our risk of depression.” (Nedly Publishing, Ardmore, Oklahoma, 2001, 34.) The absence of Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids causes an imbalance in the brain, thereby affecting mental health.
How can we overcome? By using God’s Life Activating Diet (G.L.A.D.), a diet low in fat, low in protein, high in fiber, and high in nutrients. It provides the tools necessary for overcoming depression. The highest source of fiber is whole grains. When we make the change to GOD’S PLAN, then we can ask God to give us victory over depression because “with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26.
We need to bring into balance the chemical makeup of our brains by making proper food choices. Leviticus 17:11 states, “The life of the flesh [is] in the blood.” “The brain is the organ and instrument of the mind, and controls the whole body. In order for the other parts of the system to be healthy, the brain must be healthy. And in order for the brain to be healthy, the blood must be pure. If by correct habits of eating and drinking the blood is kept pure, the brain will be properly nourished.” Medical Ministry, 291. It is our responsibility to choose the necessary nutrients that will nourish our brains and not eat those things that will strip and rob the brain, causing us to be in a state of mental depression.
In validation of the G.L.A.D. diet, there is documented proof of research done that states that the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.), which is high in fat and protein and low in fiber and nutrients, contributes to bipolar disorder and other mental depression. If you use a low fat and low protein, high fiber and high nutrient diet, it will improve the mental state. “Those who consume a low fat and high complex carbohydrate diet show significantly greater improvement when dealing with depression.” Melvyn R. Werbach, M.D., Nutritional Influence on Mental Illness, Third Line Press, Inc., Tarzana, California, 1999, 221.
LaVerne Jackson is Associate Director and Business Manager of Missionary Education and Evangelistic Training (M.E.E.T.) Ministry in Huntingdon, Tennessee. She has a Masters Degree in Nutrition and is a Nutritional Consultant. She may be contacted by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at: 731-986-3518.