Foods to Fight Stress, Depression, and Fatigue

Dr. Shawn Talbott

(KUTV) Salt Lake City - Tired, Stressed, Depressed? Many of us are at one time or another in our lives. However, did you know food can help change that situation?

Dr. Shawn Talbott, a nutritional biochemist who studies how nutrition and lifestyle choices can help people feel their best, starts his lectures by asking the audience three simple questions:

  1. Are you stressed? Of course you are. That’s strike one.
  2. Do you get less than 8 solid hours of sleep a night, or do you consistently feel fatigued during the day? Yes? Strike two!
  3. And what about mood—do you often feel “blah” or downright depressed? Yes? That’s strike three.

In today’s fast-paced, hurry-hurry world, almost all of us are fatigued, under a mountain of stress, and often feeling the blues. In fact, the problem is so bad that nearly 1 in every 3 doctor visits is related to stress, fatigue, or depression. So what’s the problem? Our environment is full of physical stressors—environmental toxins such as air pollution, processed foods, inadequate fruits/vegetables, etc.—that can lead to problems with the balance of the beneficial bacteria in our guts. We call these bacteria the “microbiome” – or Biome for short – and an imbalanced biome is often a primary cause of problems with mental wellness. Every day, we encounter a variety of mental stressors that influence our Brain – such as bills and traffic and deadlines and family issues – that lead to chronic stress, elevated stress hormones such as cortisol, and changes in neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. Our overall health habits, such as diet, exercise, and sleep are poor, leading to obesity, lack of energy and compromised health throughout the entire Body, and especially the health or our heart.

On top of all of those imbalances in brain-body-biome, our bodies also tend to work differently (and usually less effectively) as we age. In short, this combination of stress, diet, lifestyle, and aging has led to imbalances in our brain-body-biome balance – causing us to become tired, stressed, and depressed. The result? A vicious cycle of unending stress, fatigue and depression that can be very difficult to break. Society’s Solution? A Poor One Dozens of synthetic drugs have been created to mask the tired-stressed-depressed syndrome.

Antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and sleeping pills abound. Even so-called “energy” drinks, which claim to help solve the problem, a