Healing Depression and Blood Pressure Naturally
Your diet, what you eat and drink, has a real effect on your heart and blood pressure, but also your mood. So it’s no surprise that the more healthy your eating habits are, the lower your blood pressure will be and the happier too. If you currently have high blood pressure or suffer from depression or anxiety, it is even more important to make healthy changes to your diet. And if you are on blood pressure, anti-depressive or anxiety medications, you may be able to avoid or minimize use of the medications by watching what you eat.
What is Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood through the arteries as it leaves the heart and travels throughout the body. There are two numbers: systolic is when the heart pumps the blood out and diastolic is when the heart is relaxed before the next beat. A healthy blood pressure is considered to be 120/80 or lower.
The Link Between Diet, Mood, and Blood Pressure
Scientists have known for a long time that food — the kinds we eat, how we digest it — can affect our moods. People who are obese are more likely to have depression, studies have shown; neurotransmitters that alter our moods, such as serotonin and dopamine, are in fact produced by the microbes that live in the gut.
Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers that relay information throughout the body. They carry signals between nerve cells, called “neurons.” and are responsible for sleep, mood, concentration, movement, energy and appetite. When neurotransmitters are depleted and out of balance, our brain and body are depleted and out of balance as well. Neurotransmitters are affected by stress, poor diet, toxins, genetic predisposition, drugs or medications, alcohol and other environmental and lifestyle factors. Neurotransmitters are important chemicals that facilitate communication within the brain and between the gut and the brain. Brain cells (also found in the gut) require specific amino acids, in combination with certain vitamin and mineral co-factors, in order to produce neurotransmitters.
Let’s look at how some of these Neurotransmitters Work
Norepinephrine is an excitatory neurotransmitter/hormone. As a stress hormone, secreted by the adrenal gland, it works together with epinephrine to give the body a burst of energy in times of stress, known as the “fight or flight” response resulting in increased heart rate and blood pressure.
Serotonin is an inhibitory neurotransmitter responsible for regulating sleep, body temperature, function of the immune system, muscle contraction, pain intensity, memory, learning, mood, appetite, and digestion. If you use stimulant medications or caffeine in your daily regimen – it can cause a depletion of serotonin over time.
Dopamine affects brain processes that control movement, emotional response, rational thinking, memory, focus and ability to experience pleasure and pain. When dopamine is either elevated or low – we can have focus issues such as not remembering where we put our keys, forgetting what a paragraph said when we just finished reading it or simply daydreaming and not being able to stay on task.
To control your mood or blood pressure, the body’s natural response is to release the proper type and amount of the necessary neurotransmitter to control the imbalance caused by the issue at hand. For our purposes it would be mood or blood pressure regulation. If however there is an imbalance in the gut, the issues going unresolved, therefore causing a downward cascade of symptoms. It’s usually at this point when the person is placed on medications to (quiet the symptoms, not necessarily heal the issue).
The Appropriate Response
According to Michael Gershon, the chairman of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at New York–Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, the gut contains some 100 million neurons, more than in either the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system. Needless to say, healing the gut first, is imperative. Most people who suffer from mental/emotional imbalances or high blood pressure, can greatly benefit by addressing any imbalances that effect their GI issues. While changing the diet will have a significant impact, making sure the inner lining of the gut is repaired, for good, is vital.
If you are interested in healing your body and releasing your depression or high blood pressure concerns, contact the office to begin today.