Recent studies in psychiatry have demonstrated that inflammation is a contributing factor in mental depression (Maes, Giorgian-Lavialle et al and Kohler et al). And the connection between the body’s immune system and the individual’s mental state is just beginning to be explored in books like Gut. This theory states that a wayward immune system is actually causing inflammation in the body, which in turn leads to depression.
Inflammation and Depression
Studies have shown that depressed people consistently have high levels of inflammation, and it was long thought that the inflammation was a RESULT of the depression. However, could it be the other way around: that the inflammation itself is causing or contributing to the depression? Without taking anti-inflammatory drugs, is there something natural we can do to reduce inflammation in our bodies?
Reducing Inflammation Naturally
There are many things one can do to reduce an inflammatory state in the body.
1. Eat lots of fruit, vegetables, greens, legumes and grains. Blueberries, leafy greens, pineapple, beets, broccoli, and flaxseeds are among the most anti-inflammatory foods you can consume. And avoid or lessen the amount of gluten in your diet.
2. Take an Omega-3 supplement. There are many good kinds out there, but there are also many poorly sourced supplements, so choose wisely. My favorite is Omegagize from Young Living. You do not need to be a member of Young Living to purchase their products, but if you wish to be come one, you will get 24% off retail. For more information, visit this page.
3. Lessen your consumption of meat, dairy and processed goods, particularly baked goods.
4. Take a turmeric supplement. The studies on turmeric (more specifically curcumin) are extensive and fascinating and most indicate its beneficial effects on physical inflammation such as arthritis and fibromyalgia as well as its anti-inflammatory effects on the brain. I recommend Jarrow Pharmaceuticals Curcumin Supplement (Curcumin is the active ingredeient in turmeric). Be sure to take at least 600 mg a day, more if you are suffering from active inflammation manifesting as fibro pain or depression.
5. Ginger!! Ginger tea, ginger supplements, ginger essential oil–consume as much as you can of ginger in general. It’s a terrific anti-inflammatory and soothes the digestive tract.
6. Epsom Salt baths. These are my secret weapon for physical body inflammation, but they also do wonders for relaxing the mind, They are generally considered ‘detoxifying’ and I like to add essential oils to boost their healing powers. Be sure to add the essential oils to the epsom salt before adding them, mixed together, to your bath. Otherwise they will just sit on the surface of your bath water and their benefits will not be as pronounced.
The oils I recommend that are anti-inflammatory include rosemary, ginger, eucalyptus, and my two favorites: frankincense and myrrh. Studies have show both frankincense and myrrh to be particularly effective in reducing inflammation; the second study cited shows the positive effect of both on inflammation when used together (Blaine & Blaine) Both of these are part of Young Livings give-away promo this month-check it out.
ETA on September 21:
A study I just found out about demonstrates the neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory capability of copaiba essential oil. Read the entire study here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/…/PMC3…/pdf/ECAM2012-918174.pdf