The Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN), Lagos Chapter, has urged Nigerians to always ensure they eat adequately and adopt healthy lifestyle to help fight depression.
The Chairman, Lagos Chapter of the association, Dr Oluwatosin Adu, prescribed this antidote in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) to mark the 2017 World Health Day on Friday in Lagos.
NAN reports that World Health Day is always celebrated every April 7 annually.
The theme for this year is: “Depression: Let’s talk’’.
Depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide, and more than 80 per cent of this disease is among people living in low and middle income countries.
According to the latest estimates from World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 300 million people are now living with depression.
Adu said that it was important that the food is cooked and eaten appropriately to get maximum nutrients.
He said although there was no diet treatment for depression but nutrition experts recognised the role that it could play in improving overall mental health.
“Nutrition facilitates resilience against physical and mental stress in our daily lives.
“Depression can be long lasting or recurring, substantially impairing individual’s ability to function at work or school or cope with daily life.”
He said prevalence of depressive disorders in Nigeria was 3.9 per cent of the population (7,079,815), while that of anxiety disorders was 2.7 per cent of the population (4,894,557).
“The number keep going up particularly with the protracted economic recession the country is going through as no age or class of people is spared.
“People of all ages and from all walks of life can be affected by depression although factors such as poverty, unemployment and other problems increase the risks in certain individuals,” Adu said.
He said that depressive disorders were characterised by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt, disturbed sleep or appetite, feelings of tiredness and could lead to self-harm or suicide.
Adu said that there were certain nutrients that have beneficial effects on mental health which included tryptophan, selenium, omega-3 and Vitamin B.
“Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that produces serotonin, a major neurotransmitter that signals the body system and is found in soybeans, milk and egg while Selenium in brown rice, beans, dates and poultry.
“Omega 3 fatty acids aid in mental focus and cognitive function and is usually sourced from fish, olive oil and cod liver oil.
“Vitamin B is food for the nerves because they are necessary for proper nerve and hormone function and its aids in balancing moods,” he said.
Adu urged governments to create an enabling environment for citizens to accommodate good nutrition and healthy lifestyles.
“Governments at all levels need to expand farmers markets in all communities and increase access to food and nutrition security for all,” he said. (NAN)