It’s a distressing fact: In the United States and most Western countries, diet-related chronic diseases—from heart disease and obesity to diabetes and depression—are the single largest cause of health problems and death. As a matter of fact, the guesstimate is that up to 65 percent of us suffer from ailments that are due to what is typically in—and not included in—foods we eat each day.
The problem? The typical standard American diet (SAD)—replete with lots of denatured white flour, empty-calorie sugar, and imbalanced fats—has collided with health-enhancing, nutrient-dense (meaning, food that contains lots of vitamins and minerals in their natural ratio) foods on which we evolved—and thrived—for thousands of years.
What does this mean for the more than 15 million Americans who experience serious depression during their lifetime? It’s likely you’re not consuming the vitamins and minerals your mind-body needs to thrive. And no where is this more evident than with the eight members of the B family of vitamins, some of which play a key role in either “cancelling” or contributing to depression.
The B vitamins are often referred to as a “family” of vitamins because they have similar chemical structures. Not often isolated in foods, they more typically work together in a cornucopia of foods to keep us healthy. This means that if you’re deficient in one B vitamin, it’s likely you’re also lacking in the others. The end result: as with any team, a weakness in one player compromises the ability of the others to function optimally.
B’s to beat the blues
From dreary doldrums or to a deeper depression, a diet that is deficient in various B vitamins can contribute to the problem. Here are some ways to integrate foods high in the B vitamins into your diet:
• Folic acid (also called folate or folacin), B6 (70 percent is lost in processing), and B12 deficiencies are linked to depression.