Depression Exposed – How to Protect Your Heart and Mind

Who Is This Article For?

Are you someone who’s looking for an alternative to medication for major depression or anxiety?

Do you think you may have symptoms of major depression?

Are you interested in an evidence based approach to preventing or curing major depression?

Are you tired of people telling you that just praying on it will make everything OK?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this is for you.

If you are set on the belief that medications are absolutely necessary or that doctors don’t need to provide evidence for their treatment, then this is not for you.

I’ll be sharing evidence based research and observations that has helped many people with their major depression and I’m confident it can help you as well.

Even if you’re not experiencing depression, I hope by reading this you may be able to spot any potential warning signs and prevent it from getting worse.

Although the spiritual portion of my article is from my perspective as a Muslim revert, and geared toward other Muslims, it doesn’t mean it rules out non-Muslims.

The non spiritual portions are based on science and contain practical action items and concepts that apply to humanity as a whole.

If we don’t agree on the spiritual aspects, then that’s cool too. Let’s agree to disagree and move on.

We should come together as humans and benefit from each others experiences as much as possible.

Our religion or country of origin shouldn’t prevent us from learning from one another.

Depression Exposed – How to Protect Your Heart and Mind

Depression Exposed -Muslim-woman-sitting-on-deck

[info_message style=”info” animation=”fade-in” animation_delay=”500″]Before we get started on this article about depression, I want to first state that I am not a licensed psychologist, registered dietitian, nutritionist or medical doctor.

 

If you’re having thoughts of hurting yourself or thinking of taking your own life, please call or chat with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.[/info_message]

A Little Bit About Depression

Major depression is skyrocketing here in the US and affects almost 15 million adults.

That’s almost 7% of the US. population with over 30,000 suicides committed annually.

I was surprised to learn that twice as many women have major depression than men; a ratio of 2:1.

Sadly, suicide hotlines received eight times the number of calls this year compared to last year.

Black Friday, coincidentally, reached a record high of $3 billion with an increase of 11 percent over last year.

Yes, it’s true. We shop more when we are stressed or afraid and 2016  has definitely stressed a lot of people out.

 

The Status Quo

For centuries scientific research has been limited to the medical community and institutions, leaving us to entrust our health and lives to any doctor we meet.

Doctors and scientists are seen as these super intelligent beings that have all of the answers and even if you find an answer or two, you really don’t understand it.

It would seem that by saying no one really knows the causes of major depression, that it only makes sense to take drugs to at least mask the symptoms.

The truth is that there are causes and cures.

You just have to know what to look for and where to look for it.

Unfortunately most of us don’t have the time to check everything we hear or read from doctors or the media.

We kind of just do our daily routines and leave the important and meaningful matters of our health to them without question.

This type of hierarchy and pecking order can also be seen in areas of technology, art, cooking, religion, or numerous other disciplines.

That’s not to say that there aren’t brilliant doctors or scientists in the world, but rather most of the narrative is led by individuals in power who share the same principles and philosophies.

A narrative that is most often not based on facts or evidence.

 

 

Depression-Exposed-man-looking-through-glass

Depression Defined

The Mayo Clinic says in order to be diagnosed for clinical depression (aka major depression), you must have five or more of the following symptoms over a two-week period, most of the day, nearly every day:

  • Depressed mood, such as feeling sad, empty or tearful (in children and teens, depressed mood can appear as constant irritability)
  • Significantly reduced interest or feeling no pleasure in all or most activities
  • Significant weight loss when not dieting, weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite (in children, failure to gain weight as expected)
  • Insomnia or increased desire to sleep
  • Either restlessness or slowed behavior that can be observed by others
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness, or excessive or inappropriate guilt
  • Trouble making decisions, or trouble thinking or concentrating
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, or a suicide attempt
Concern should drive us into action and not into a depression. Click To Tweet

Again, these symptoms would need to be present for more than two weeks consistently in order to be diagnosed with major/clinical  depression.

For example a child or teenager expressing a depressed mood by being irritable could include all children and teenagers and some point.

Especially when it comes to smartphones. Spending extended amounts of time on the phone has been shown to cause anxiety and depression among kids and teens.

Clinical depression is not to be confused with feeling down or bummed out or even feeling very sad; due to a traumatic event in your life.

Everyone has moments in their life when they want to be alone, not do anything, or have feelings of sadness or frustration.

Just take me for example. I’m married with five kids.

There are definitely times when I want to build my own rocket ship and go to the moon, but that doesn’t mean I’m depressed or unhappy with my marriage or children.

What makes the difference is how we bounce back from these moments or events. Some of us bounce back and some of us don’t.

Some of us don’t bounce back but try to play it off as if all is OK, but inside they are sad, depressed or afraid.

If you have the ability to mask your depression and hide it, then you may have what is now being termed as ‘High Functioning Depression’.

This diagnosis goes so far as to say that even if you don’t feel depressed and just feel down or out of it, you can actually be depressed.

You just don’t know it yet.

My answer to that is to slow down Doc.

Let’s not start setting up medication vending machines just yet.

I personally don’t think it’s healthy to suppress our feelings and try to be the perfect human being.

Even some of the Prophets of Allah had times when they had sadness, frustration or wanted to give up.

Thousands of Prophets were even killed by those that rejected the message.

A Muslim brother and friend of mine reminded me on the phone the other day that even the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had the moment when he wanted to thrown himself from the side of the mountain when he stopped receiving revelation.

Now the scholars of Islam can break that down way better than I can, based on their knowledge of the religion, history, and evidence, but to me it reminds me of the Oprah Effect.

[info_message style=”warning” animation=”fade-in” animation_delay=”500″]Tangent Alert: What is the Oprah Effect? This is when Oprah comes into someone’s life by paying them a surprise visit and gives them stuff or helps them with a problem.

They even get a spot on the show and have a small window of fame to share their experience. But once Oprah packs up and leaves and the rush of fame subsides, that’s when the depression can kick in. Many of her viewers are going through withdrawal just from the show ending.[/info_message]

OK, now back to the Prophets (AS).

Take Noah (AS) as another example. He was a Prophet for 950 years and only had approximately 70 followers.

He finally, after all of that time, asked Allah (SW) to destroy his nation because he knew his people and that they would never change.

Then came the Arc and well…you know the rest.

Can you imagine in our day in age with everyone wanting attention and clamoring for likes and followers, if only 70 people liked or followed you after several years?

Then on top of that having thousands of people in your area tell you that you’re crazy or try to physically harm you?

There is a high probability that you would fall into depression. Especially if you put in work like Noah (AS).

But…If major depression was just a matter of ones experiences or how one thinks or feels, then everyone would have it.

If that were the case, millions of Muslims would be depressed given our global condition today.

It’s more than only our thoughts and how we deal with stress.

So what are the possible causes of major depression? What makes one person see a dark cloud day after day, month after month, year after year, while another simply moves along?

Many doctors will tell you that it’s in your genes, that you just have bad luck, or it’s just the way you’re wired.

As evidence based science would have it, and from my own personal experiences, that is not correct. It’s an easy, profitable, and timeless answer, but it’s not true.

 

 

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Depression and Its Causes

The current narrative for the causes of depression according to the Mayo Clinic are as follows:

It’s not known exactly what causes depression. As with many mental disorders, a variety of factors may be involved, such as:

  • Biological differences. People with depression appear to have physical changes in their brains. The significance of these changes is still uncertain, but may eventually help pinpoint causes.
  • Brain chemistry. Neurotransmitters are naturally occurring brain chemicals that likely play a role in depression. Recent research indicates that changes in the function and effect of these neurotransmitters and how they interact with neurocircuits involved in maintaining mood stability may play a significant role in depression and its treatment.
  • Changes in the body’s balance of hormones may be involved in causing or triggering depression. Hormone changes can result with pregnancy and during the weeks or months after delivery (postpartum) and from thyroid problems, menopause or a number of other conditions.
  • Inherited traits. Depression is more common in people whose blood relatives also have this condition. Researchers are trying to find genes that may be involved in causing depression.

Let’s take another look at that first statement from the Mayo Clinic website, “It’s not known exactly what causes depression.

As with many mental disorders, a variety of factors may be involved, such as:”

I’ve marked the key words in bold to emphasize a point.

Many doctor’s and scientist’s take pride in not knowing, yet many can come across as projecting the notion that their ‘not knowing’ is better and more factual than your ‘not knowing’.

They have good theories based on their observations and tests, but the fact of the matter is that they don’t really know for sure.

Also notice in the definition of ‘Brain Chemistry’ how they kind of beat around the ‘chemical imbalance’ bush.

This is because there is no scientific evidence to support the theory of chemical imbalance as a cause for major depression.

Most anti-depressant drugs claim to bring a balance in these chemicals, namely serotonin.

There is only one issue with this claim.

Serotonin cannot be measured. So how can they claim that low levels of serotonin is the cause of depression, let alone claim their drug to elevate it?

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) concluded that

“There is no evidence that there is anything wrong in the serotonergic system of depressed patients.”

The serotonin theory is simply not based on science. It’s a weak theory with a hypothesis that was proven incorrect.

So let’s continue to stick to that point for a moment. Since you and I don’t have a lab (unless you’re a researcher), we can’t compare notes with them to keep them in check.

[info_message style=”warning”]Tangent Alert: I was once eating sushi at a restaurant and could over hear a group of scientists talking about the planets etc. They had a difference of opinion on a particular star or whatever and how NASA isn’t telling the truth about the matter. I remember one of them responding with, “If you don’t think what they’re saying is true, then prove them wrong.” The guy then replied with frustration, “How can I do that? I don’t have a d*** Hubble telescope!” The man then smiled and said, “Exactly. So just let it go.”[/info_message]

This is the conundrum we all have to face when it comes to medicine and health as well.

We do however have access to medical professionals on the internet that offer another narrative.

There are more and more medical professionals coming forward with the truth on many health topics, but we just have to know where to look.

Or more importantly, we have to know to look in the first place.

With the Internet and social media, we have access to other ‘Hubble telescopes’ that can tell a different story.

And what is that different story? What are other medical experts and scientists saying about the causes of major depression?

As Samuel L Jackson said it in Jurassic Park, “Hold on to your butts.”

Researchers have now recently discovered that major depression is linked to neurotrophic factors and chronic inflammation.

Huh? Inflammation you say? Neuro what?

I know it sounds simple and maybe even lame, but hear me out.

 

BDNF 

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) are critical regulators of the formation and plasticity of neuronal networks and there is a lot of it in our serum and plasma.

Studies show that a decrease in BDNF is directly related to major depression.

So much so in fact, that a decrease in BDNF can be seen in patients with major depression.

This decrease in BDNF is associated with a weakened neuronal plasticity which has been observed in suicidal patients.

Neuronal plasticity is responsible for creating brain cells and tissue.

Critically low levels of BDNF can lead to a shrinking of your Hippocampus, which is a temporal lobe deep within your brain that is responsible for learning, patterns, memory and mood regulation.

Of course most doctors treat this by prescribing medication to increase levels of BDNF, but as you will see later there is a natural and effective way of getting the same results.

So what can cause a decrease in BDNF?

One of the main causes for a reduction in BDNF is chronic stress and chronic inflammation.

Another culprit is sugar. Excessive sugar suppresses BDNF and facilitates the growth of bad pathogenic microbes in the gut, which in turn affects tryptophan.

I’m sure you have heard of tryptophan during turkey season, but it’s also a precursor to the production of serotonin in your gut.

 

Chronic Inflammation

The connection between inflammation and depression come from higher levels of inflammatory cytokines and a decreased sensitivity to the stress hormone, cortisol.

Let’s take a look at a few things that can cause inflammation in the our body.

 

 

Depression-Exposed-gmo-corn

Genetically Modified Food

Since the introduction of GMO foods in 1996, there have been studies that show how our bodies see these foods as foreign objects and trigger inflammation.

Inflammation is our bodies natural immune response to fight infection.

As a matter of fact, most chronic illnesses are caused by inflammation such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, autism, eczema and depression.

The list goes on and on.

Many diseases start in our gut which makes up 80% of our immune system, so it makes sense that many of the causes of inflammation starts there.

If you and I are bombarding our body’s on a daily basis with processed, genetically modified, and sugary foods, our body’s will naturally react with inflammation.

[info_message style=”warning”]Tangent Alert! Even with Autism, studies have shown that it starts in the gut and if you have a child with autism, then you most likely know his or her issues with digestion. My stepson has Autistic Spectrum Disorder and his stomach hates him. We’re going to start a strong regimen of probiotics since research shows this to be of great benefit for individuals with autism.[/info_message]

This combined with a diet rich in processed, GMO and sugary foods makes a potential recipe for disaster.

The Arabs of old said: The stomach is the home of disease and restraint is the basis of the remedy.

The Prophet (PBUH) said: The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat a few mouthfuls, to keep him going. If he must do that (fill his stomach), then let him fill one third with food, one third with drink and one third with air.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (2380); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah (2265).

There are other scriptures like the Bible and the Torah that also mention illness and how it relates to the stomach.

 

Vitamin D Deficiency

Evidence shows that a lack of Vitamin D can cause quite a few issues such as cardiovascular disease, asthma, and depression to name a few.

It’s a good idea to get your levels checked by a doctor so if you’re deficient, which many of us are, you can see how much you need to get within a healthy range.

Low levels of Vitamin D can increase your risk of depression by as much as 11x.

This isn’t to say it’s a direct cause of depression, but simply that it can contribute to other factors that just add fuel to the fire.

Many people in cities with little to no sunshine show as having a higher number of people with depression than areas with adequate sun light.

This is due to the fact that sun light is a great source of Vitamin D.

 

Mental and Emotional Stress

Since we know that inflammation is a main component of depression, we should remember that it’s the cause of our chemical and/or hormonal imbalances.

The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance says that depression often co-occurs with other illnesses and medical conditions.

  • Cancer: 25% of cancer patients experience depression.
  • Strokes: 10-27% of post-stroke patients experience depression.
  • Heart attacks: 1 in 3 heart attack survivors experience depression.
  • HIV: 1 in 3 HIV patients may experience depression.
  • Parkinson’s Disease: 50% of Parkinson’s disease patients may experience depression.
  • Eating disorders: 50-75% of eating disorder patients (anorexia and bulimia) experience depression.
  • Substance use: 27% of individuals with substance abuse disorders (both alcohol and other substances) experience depression.
  • Diabetes: 8.5-27% of persons with diabetes experience depression.

(National Institute of Mental Health, 1999-2002,(Rosen and Amador, 1996)

 

As we work toward healing ourselves, it’s important to work on our mental and emotional struggles in parallel with healing our bodies.

For Muslims, we know that much of our mental state stems from our connection with the Creator and our deeds.

If we don’t establish prayer or remember Allah often, then we can easily get caught up in worldly affairs and feel overwhelmed.

Shaytan also plays a big part in that he tries to get us to feel guilty or hopeless with our shortcomings.

These feeling of guilt or hopelessness is a way for him to get us to tell ourselves that we’re weak, which can lead to committing bad deeds.

He even convinced once that if I established prayer and did as many good deeds as possible, I would then die because I became good a Muslim.

Even though that would be the best time to leave this planet, as a good Muslim, it was still death non the less and I didn’t feel I was ready.

So I would hold back on my prayers and good deeds to buy more time.

Shaytan is very talented when it comes to getting us to put things off that are good for us.

Maybe we’ll cover that in another article with a Muslim scholar inshAllah.

We’ll cover a few tactics in the next section on how to minimize the influence of Shaytan.

 

 

Depression-Exposed -Picture-of-a-brain-model-and-medication

How to Treat Major Depression

So now on to the meat of this article. How do we treat or cure depression?

I’ve read through quite a few blogs on depression to see what others are saying on the subject and some get a lot of angry comments.

Mostly the ones that promote natural remedies for treating major depression.

For some of these websites the reasons are clear as to why they get such hostile comments.

Sites that say “Don’t worry, be happy”, may not go over very well for someone who is contemplating suicide or knows someone who has taken their own life.

On the flip side, it’s not to say that medication is the right way to go either.

Now that we know that inflammation plays a major role in depression, we can look at some ways in reducing inflammation.

The reason I’m choosing to focus on inflammation is because medication only provides temporary relief of the symptoms and does nothing towards providing a cure.

There are websites that list the many potential side effects of anti-depression medication, with one of them actually being suicide.

Furthermore, once you start taking these anti-depressant drugs for a while, and then decide to stop, it could be even more dangerous than being on them.

If you’re currently on medication for depression, you can talk to your doctor about weening off of them while you work on the causes of your depression.

If he or she is not receptive and insists that you stay on the meds and that this is all rubbish, then find another doctor.

If fact there are medications that are even known to cause depression. They are as follows:

  • Benzodiazepines
  • Beta-Blockers, methyldopa and other blood pressure medication
  • Corticosteroids and Contraceptives
  • Sedatives
  • Opioids and other pain killers
  • Amphetamines
  • Antidepressants

Just be careful of the double edge sword that is medication.

This is not only my own personal opinion, but the opinion of many doctors and scientists who are strong advocates for treating the causes of disease and not the symptoms.

I won’t get into all the details, but I had a major bout with depression and anxiety attacks for years. After my first major panic attack, many more followed so I went to see a doctor.

Within 10 minutes I had a prescription for Zoloft. I tried this for a few days and knew that it would take a couple of weeks to take effect, but I called a behavior therapist from the yellow pages for a possible second opinion.

He told me to stop taking them immediately! He said, “If you were a member of my family I would give you the same answer.

You don’t need that stuff to get better and once you start you almost certainly can’t stop.”

Long story short, I stopped taking them and went another route.

We have to know that Allah has created our bodies magnificently and that it has all it needs to protect and heal itself without any man-made chemicals.

We just need to know where to look and have the patience to see it through.

So what are some of the natural ways to lower inflammation? Because at this point, we still don’t want to take medication for inflammation either.

We want to avoid medication all together.

 

 

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Curcumin and Turmeric

Research has shown that a great way to reduce inflammation, and to raise levels of BDNF, is curcumin.

This can be found in Turmeric, black seed oil and yellow mustard.

Imagine that! Could this be why so many people in the UK like Indian food? The UK has a lot of overcast which can contribute to depression (as I mentioned earlier about sunlight).

By eating Indian foods containing turmeric and curcumin it’s possible that it has a positive effect on their mood without even realizing it.

In fact many people like Indian and middle eastern food. Maybe it’s the natural anti-depressant ingredients. Just saying.

There was a study done where they gave one group that was diagnosed with depression turmeric and another group diagnosed with depression Prozac.

Guess what the study showed?

The study showed that the group with turmeric experienced the exact same benefits as the group that took the Prozac.

How can you get curcumin or turmeric? You can get turmeric from your local health food store.

I recommend getting an organic, non GMO version if possible.

By having a cup of turmeric tea a day, you could start slowly reducing reversing inflammation.

You can also put a tablespoon in a smoothie or water to get a more potent dose.

It’s said that turmeric isn’t very bioavailable so it’s good to take it with black pepper which has shown to improve absorption of curcumin by 2000%.

Curcumin is also amazing in that it crosses the blood brain barrier for a direct benefit to the brain.

For more moderate to major inflammation some doctors recommend supplements as they have higher doses of curcumin.

If you work out or if you’re an athlete, curcumin is a great way to reduce inflammation after training.

 

 

 

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Physical Activity

This is another very important component for treating depression. When we exercise and get the blood flowing and the heart rate up we also produce serotonin and other chemicals in our brain that makes us feel good.

If you or someone you know jogs or runs on a regular basis, then you may know or have heard how great it feels to put in some miles.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has been shown to increase levels of BDNF.

An example of HIIT would be walking or sprinting for 20 seconds, followed by 90 seconds of walking at a normal pace.

You then repeat this 7 times or as much as you can.

You can also do push-ups, sit-ups or squats.

It’s up to you, but the key is a 20 second high intensity movement followed by a low intensity movement.

This type of exercise has many benefits for your heart as well.

Even walking for 30 minutes a day 3 to 5 days a week will work wonders for your state of mind and overall health.

I know there are days when I don’t feel like going to the gym or jogging, but as soon as I do, I feel like a bazillion bucks.

If you currently lead a sedentary lifestyle or sit most of the day like I do (I do computer stuffs for a living), I recommend you get out there and get some exercise whether you have symptoms of depression or not.

It’s a great way to prevent most diseases and illnesses in general.

 

Talking to Someone

You might be able to get away with Googling your questions and talking to a friend or family member, but just make sure you’re getting the right information and that your family member or friend is a good listener and not a ‘fixer’.

What I mean by that is sometimes you just want to talk and have someone listen as apposed to having someone give your unsolicited advice or out matches your problems with their bigger problems.

“Oh, your Dad died? I’m sorry to hear that. I know how you feel. My Dad and Mom died at the same time 8 years ago in a car crash. But just your Dad dying is still sad.”

Make sure you only talk to someone with wisdom and a good set of ears.

Just keep in mind that this is part of the solution and can be used along with working on your health.

If you do therapy alone, you may find yourself dependent on that forever like medication and it’s not cheap.

 

Develop a Routine and Set Goals

Having a routine and setting goals is very important because they give you a sense of purpose and direction. Much of the mental aspects of depression is feeling that you don’t have control or that each day is like the last.

Setting achievable goals is very important in knowing that you’ve accomplished something.

 

 

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Eat Real Food As Much As Possible

As for diet, try to avoid packaged foods as much as possible. These types of foods are filled with preservatives, artificial ingredients and added sugar that can lead to inflammation.

Sugar is a big culprit when it comes to inflammation so be sure to limit your sugar as much as possible.

If you drink soda or eat fast food, try cutting back or cutting it out completely.

It will save you a few bucks and greatly improve your health.

Unfortunately many Muslims don’t follow a healthy lifestyle when it comes to sugar, but that’s another discussion for another time.

As a Muslim, eating only halal and kosher, this greatly limits the types of foods that I eat.

For example, my kids have never eaten fast food.

Maybe at times they had some fries from somewhere, but that’s about it.

We also eat organic food as much as possible. If you’re on a tight budget, there is a list of foods called ‘The Clean 15’.

The foods in the list below have the lowest pesticide load and are the safest to consume in terms of pesticide contamination:

The Clean 15

  • Avocados
  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapples
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet peas (frozen)
  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Mangoes
  • Papayas
  • Kiwi
  • Eggplant
  • Honeydew melon
  • Grapefruit
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower

With seven mouths to feed this is a priceless list!

I also don’t eat the meat of natural carnivores or animals that have been bludgeoned or tortured.

There is a specific procedure as to how the animals are dispatched in Islam which is very similar to Judaism.

The packaged, non-meat items, I eat are kosher because most kosher foods don’t contain pork enzymes and gelatin.

I also don’t drink, smoke or use drugs which also helps prevent inflammation, disease or just plain drama.

Most would say that sounds really boring, but I’ll take what they call boring over drama any day of the week.

Besides, it’s not boring at all. Just look at kids and how much fun they have and they don’t do those things either.

 

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting, or IF, has many health benefits from reversing type 2 diabetes, weight loss and increasing the production of BDNF.

This is not a diet, but rather an eating style in that it’s based on when you eat and not so much on what you eat.

A popular timing strategy for IF is making your last meal at 8pm and then not eating again until 12pm the following day.

You’re basically just skipping breakfast.

I know we’ve been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it’s not true.

This belief was actually made popular by the breakfast food industry and is not supported by science.

Don’t confuse this with a dry fast like Ramadan or any other religious fast.

With this fast you can drink liquids.

Just be sure not to add any sugar to your coffee or tea.

If you’re a big chai drinker, I feel your pain.

 

Omega-3 Healthy Fats

I’m sure you know about Omega-3 fatty acids.

This is a very critical component and plays a vital role in depression and anxiety.

It’s supports healthy brain function and emotional well-being.

It depends on where you’re from, but I know many Muslims don’t eat enough omega-3 rich foods.

There are three types of omega-3 fats, DHA, EPA (both important for emotional well-being), and ALA.

DHA (marine animal based) alone makes up more than 90% of the omega-3 fat in brain tissue as well as 30% of the fatty mass in the prefrontal cortex, aka corporate brain.

ALA is plant-based which is very important to understand if you’re vegetarian or vegan.

You’re missing an important building block to your brain by cutting out DHA and EPA fatty acids and by only consuming plant-based ALA, studies have shown that it does not increase or change the levels of ALA in your brain.

In other words, you can eat plant-based omega-3 fatty acid all day (which we do because it’s in virtually everything) and not change your brain composition, because they are not interchangeable.

They aren’t interchangeable because ALA is strictly a form of energy (brain food) and short chained, whereas DHA and EPA are structural elements that make up your cells (long chained).

So what about ALA converting to DHA and EPA?

Although this is true, the science shows that it’s only 0.1-0.5% that actually gets converted, because of the lack of efficiency of the enzyme that does the converting.

This isn’t close to being enough to provide the DHA and EPA that is needed for healthy brain function.

So it’s super important to supplement DHA and EPA at around 1,000 mg/day for heart health, 2000-3000 mg/day for high triglycerides, and 2000-2500 mg/day for depression.

If you’re not a vegetarian or vegan,  the best way to get DHA and EPA omega-3 fats is eating fish 2 to 3 times a week if possible.

 

Here are some great sources of DHA and EPA omega-3 fats. 

  • Mackerel: 6,982 milligrams in 1 cup cooked (174 precent DV)
  • Salmon Fish Oil: 4,767 milligrams in 1 tablespoon (119 percent DV)
  • Cod Liver Oil: 2.664 milligrams in 1 tablespoon (66 percent DV)
  • Walnuts: 2,664 milligrams in 1/4 cup (66 percent DV)
  • Chia Seeds: 2,457 milligrams in 1 tablespoon (61 percent DV)
  • Herring: 1,885 milligrams in 3 ounces (47 percent DV)
  • Salmon (wild-caught): 1,716 milligrams in 3 ounces (42 percent DV)
  • Flaxseeds (ground): 1,597 milligrams in 1 tablespoon (39 percent DV)
  • Tuna: 1,414 milligrams in 3 ounces (35 percent DV)
  • White Fish: 1,363 milligrams in 3 ounces (34 percent DV)
  • Sardines: 1,363 milligrams in 1 can/3.75 ounces (34 percent DV)
  • Hemp Seeds: 1,000 milligrams  in 1 tablespoon (25 percent DV)
  • Anchovies: 951 milligrams in 1 can/2 ounces (23 percent DV)
  • Natto: 428 milligrams in 1/4 cup (10 percent DV)
  • Egg Yolks: 240 milligrams in 1/2 cup (6 percent DV)

 

 

depression-exposed-muslim-praying

Spirituality

Being a practicing Muslim is a big part of my positive attitude and mental state. I know that may sound cliché for someone who follows a religion but it’s the truth.

For me, having everything I need to do in life laid out for me in a step by step manner makes life so much easier and fulfilling.

I no longer have to learn by trial and error to find contentment and peace of mind.

Everything from how to eat to how to run a country is in the religion of Islam.

Take prayer for example. Praying five times a day provides several things that contribute to my positive and healthy mindset.

  • As Muslims we believe that while we are praying we have a direct one on one connection with the Creator who will then forgive our shortcomings and give us peace of mind afterward. It’s like a reset button that breaks up the monotony during the day.
  • Praying five times a day creates routine, which is very important for mental health as I mentioned earlier.
  • Praying gives us a strong sense of belonging to a greater purpose. Many of the thoughts that go along with depression are the thoughts of feeling alone and hopeless.
  • Many prayers are with others in congregation. This is another act that promotes a sense of belonging; as opposed to isolation.
  • I wake up before sunrise with a purpose. A purpose that revolves around my success in this life and the next life as a Muslim and the success of my family and others. Not just a concern for worldly gain, which I have limited control over.
  • I go to bed every night with a great sense of accomplishment knowing that I tried to worship my Creator as much as possible and tried to have a positive impact on someone’s life or my community. This is part of accomplishing goals as I also mentioned before.

 

Be sure to leave a comment below on how prayer helps you as well. Even if you’re not Muslim, how does your type of prayer or meditation help you?

There is no sure-fire way to prevent anything, but we can go over some action items that may be beneficial in trying to prevent or remove depression in our lives.

From a Muslim perspective it’s important not to feel hopeless or guilty about anything.

The beauty of being a Muslim is that we know the Creator will forgive us of anything and everything so long as you’re asking for the forgiveness and you’re sincere.

As I mentioned before, Shaytan will try to get us to feel guilty or hopeless in an effort to get us to give up and disobey Allah though bad deeds or neglecting good deeds.

We have to remember that Shaytan can only take what we give him. He can’t read our minds. This could be why we’re not supposed to tell someone if we had a bad dream.

By telling someone that you had a bad dream, Shaytan will then know that his efforts to get in your dream were successful.

Don’t tell anyone. Keep him guessing.

Try and keep Shaytan in the dark as much as possible.

If you’re going to talk to someone about your issues, seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Shaytan and InshAllah you’ll be fine.

 

Call to Action

The drug companies know their days are numbered. It’s just a matter of time before everyone see’s through their ways.

The only question is whether or not you fight their fear tactics with knowledge, or continue going with the flow and suffering the consequences.

Anti-depressants have been scientifically proven to be no better than a placebo yet many rely on these drugs and swear by their effectiveness.

We also now know that the remedies in this article are based on science and are super cost effective.

By implementing these scientifically proven methods, you can feel confident that you’re on your way to preventing or curing major depression.

What are your thoughts or experiences with depression? I tried to cover what I could for such a big topic.

I hope it was helpful and I look forward to reading your comments and seeing you in the next article!

For Humanity!