Each one of us goes through times of sadness and anxiety. However, if this down-in-the-dumps feeling sticks around for more than a few weeks, and makes you feel miserable, you might be suffering from depression.
According to mental health experts, at least 30 million people around the world deal with a mild form of depression, and more than 15 million Americans are diagnosed with a more serious form of the condition annually. While conventional medicine helps in treating the mood swings and the grogginess that accompany it, a more natural approach including diet modification, exercise and yoga can nip the problem in the bud.
Certain foods are known to improve the mood by stimulating the production of serotonin, thus treating depression naturally. One such food is the avocado.
A Creamy & Healthy Treat: Avocados For Depression
Known for their high nutritive value, avocados are a staple American fruit.  They are an excellent source of tryptophan (0.03 g per cup), which is converted in the brain to serotonin—your key happiness hormone. [1,2] A low level of serotonin is the primary cause of depression. The omega-3 fatty acids present in this pear-shaped vegetable is also associated with improving serotonin levels and cognitive function. 
High in protein, avocados assist in the release of dopamine, another brain chemical, which is known to lift the mood. A deficiency of folate or vitamin B9 increases the risk of developing depression. A one-cup serving of avocados contains about 118mcg of folate, which is enough to shoo depression away.
How To Take It
- Include one to two avocado in your daily diet. You can use it in wraps, salads, sandwiches, soups or even burgers.
- Or make one of these healthy yet delicious avocado dishes:
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1. Dreher ML, Davenport AJ. Hass avocado composition and potential health effects. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2013;53(7):738-50. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2011.556759. Review. PubMed PMID: 23638933; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3664913.
2. Shabbir F, Patel A, Mattison C, Bose S, Krishnamohan R, Sweeney E, Sandhu S, Nel W, Rais A, Sandhu R, Ngu N, Sharma S. Effect of diet on serotonergic neurotransmission in depression. Neurochem Int. 2013 Feb;62(3):324-9. doi:10.1016/j.neuint.2012.12.014. Epub 2013 Jan 7. Review. PubMed PMID: 23306210.
3. Freeman MP. Omega-3 fatty acids in major depressive disorder. J Clin Psychiatry. 2009;70 Suppl 5:7-11. doi: 10.4088/JCP.8157su1c.02. Review. PubMed PMID: 19909687.
4. Coppen A, Bolander-Gouaille C. Treatment of depression: time to consider folic acid and vitamin B12. J Psychopharmacol. 2005 Jan;19(1):59-65. Review. PubMed PMID: 15671130.