Coping with loss is a part of life that we all deal with in our own ways. This does not mean that we need to go at it alone: in fact, coping is oftentimes made more manageable by having someone to be vulnerable with, to share with and to open up to. In times of hardship, our personal connections prove to be even more valuable, revealing sides of us we may not have even known that we had.
However, this is not the case for everyone – not all of us have the connections and resources available to us that make coping with loss more manageable. While we possess an intense resilience as humans, some days are tougher than others.
In this article we will explore a handful of supplements that can aid you in your journey to adjust. While seemingly simple, by implementing some of the ideas below, you can take the next step in your process by knowing you are doing right by your mind and body. Furthermore, we encourage you to share these ideas with your friends & family so that we can work together to help everyone work through their own process and challenges:
Definition + Why Natural Supplements?
The Free Dictionary describes a natural supplement as “A product containing one or more vitamins, herbs, enzymes, amino acids, or other ingredients, that is taken orally to supplement one’s diet, as by providing a missing nutrient.” While we sometimes think of these supplements as just something we need to consume to stay balanced, many people overlook their importance when going through a hard time. It can be easy to stay on a supplement regimen when everything is going your way, but when there are bumps in the road of life, our good habits and established routines can find themselves in flux.
Natural supplements are a great routine to keep consistent during tough times – not only do they help us establish a sense of control and routine, but, by giving our body what it needs to stay balanced, we are giving our bodies the raw materials it needs to stay resilient. In short – even when it is hard to do so, by taking care of our bodies, our bodies will take care of us.
Loss & The Power of Routine
Loss, no surprise, is the process in which something or someone is lost. In this instance, we are referring to personal loss. Be it sudden or foreseen, personal loss can take a tremendous toll on us, both mentally and physically. One of the reasons why is because these changes can impact our daily routines.
These changes can throw off our routines, ones that keep us healthy and indicate normalcy to us. Below are a few foods and supplements that you can incorporate into your daily routine to aid your body’s ability to be resilient:
In this article we will cover natural supplements found in:
- Vegetables + Folic Acid
- Mushrooms + L-Theanine
- Bananas + L-Tryptophan and 5-HTP
- Seafood + Omega 3’s
- Vegetables + Folic acid
Oftentimes found in dark leafy greens, a diet rich in folic acid, folic acid is actually an artificial form of folate, a B vitamin present in green leafy vegetables, such as cabbage, spring greens and spinach, peas, beans, and chickpeas and kidney beans and cereals. It is obtainable as a vitamin supplement or as a recommendation medication (L methylfolate).
Folic acid helps keep our red blood cells healthy and our bodies supplied with fresh oxygen. Keeping blood oxygenated is important when coping with change because oxygenated blood helps keep our muscles fresh and reduces soreness (as well as ensure that nutrients are carried throughout the body to their proper destinations). Additionally, folic acid helps to nurture brain health!
Every little thing matters when dealing with change, so keeping your muscles fresh and healthy can actually play a big role when your routines are thrown off. By staying resilient and flexible, we are setting the foundation for dealing with change when it comes our way.
Benefits of Folic acid:
- Oxygenated blood
- More efficient nutrient delivery throughout the body
- When Folic acid is combined with an antidepressant, these supplements can help cope with loss, especially in women.
How much to take:
Federal guidelines recommend 400 (mcg) per day of folic acid for grown-ups.
Some research recommends that expecting women should take 800 (mcg) per day.
The dose of L-methylfolate (Deplin) is generally 15 m (mg) per day when combined with antidepressants. A simple way to incorporate more folic acid into your diet is to add green, leafy vegetables into your diet, such as the ones listed above.
- Mushrooms + L-Theanine:
You might think mushrooms are only fit for pizza, but mushrooms can actually do wonders for your physical and mental health. As a whole, mushrooms contain a modest amount of fiber and over a dozen vitamins and minerals including potassium, copper, zinc, magnesium and a number of B vitamins such as biotin (B7) and folate (B7).
L-theanine, a non protein amino acid, is one of many amino acids our bodies need to function properly. When it comes to mushrooms, it is usually present in small amounts in Bay Bolete mushrooms. Outside of mushrooms, one great place to find L-Theanine is in green tea. L-Theanine is frequently used for treating high blood pressure and anxiety.
How does it work?
There is limited evidence that L-Theanine helps those people who are stressed more than peaceful, but studies continue to be performed. Another research indicates that L-Theanine may lower blood pressure and anxiety increases in high-stress reaction grown-ups.
How to take it:
“Theanine should be taken at 200 to 400 mg on an empty stomach,” one doctor says. “Most of my patients find that it takes the edge off their anxiety without sedating them. If it doesn’t cause sleepiness, I encourage theanine two to three times a day, depending on stress levels.”
- Bananas + L-Tryptophan:
Many people who are going through a hard time actually feel less depressed after eating a banana. Why might that be? It’s because the essential amino acid L-Tryptophan in bananas can directly assist us in coping with loss.
So what’s the deal with L-Tryptophan? L-Tryptophan is ultimately the precursor to the mood-stabilizing neurotransmitter serotonin, but there is one step in between: the production of 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). 5-HTP is a type of tryptophan that our body produces naturally, however we do ourselves a great service by increasing the amount of 5-HTP that our bodies can produce.
By making more L-Tryptophan available to our bodies, we increase how much 5-HTP can be produced. In turn, our bodies can use the 5-HTP to produce serotonin.
Low serotonin levels are linked to loss, sleep, disorder, anxiety and other health problems. These activities can be especially present during periods of loss and change – by making more L-Tryptophan available to your body, you are creating an environment in which more serotonin can ultimately be produced.
Use of 5-Hydroxytryptophan:
Since 5-HTP can help our bodies make more serotonin, 5-HTP may help us improve our state directly, especially if we are going through particularly hard times. Incorporating more 5-HTP into your diet can be made possible by consuming more foods containing L-Tryptophan such as bananas.
- Seafood + Omega 3’s:
It’s no secret that seafood is a great source of fats, both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs). These essential fatty acids, or omega-3’s, have been linked to cultures with low levels of overall depression. They also contain molybdenum manganese, vitamin E, biotin, and B6.
The takeaway? Omega-3’s react with molecules related to mood, as well as contain anti-inflammatory properties. It could be for these reasons that omega-3’s are linked to lower levels of depression in some groups around the world.
This is evidence that we can make changes in our lives today, even small changes, that can have big impacts on our day to day health.
3 Fish with high amounts of omega-3
- Mackerel (4,107 mg per serving)
- Cod Liver Oil (2,682 mg per serving)
- Salmon (4,123 mg per serving)
What role omega-3s play in depression,
It’s possible that omega-3s help reduce inflammation that is related with depression. Additionally, Omega-3 fatty acids may help maintain heart health and help reduce high triglyceride levels.
How to take it:
Some researchers proposed that high doses of omega-3, ranging from 200–2,200 mg per day, can decrease feelings associated with loss, as well as signs of depression and anxiety. You can consume omega-3’s in a pill (fish oil, cod oil) or by eating the above fish.
In summary, while life may very well continue to throw us challenges and unforeseen circumstances, there are things we can do in order to optimize our current situation. During periods of change and loss, one might not think to look at the basics (such as food and diet) but, as it turns out, this can play a big role during the process to achieve balance.
Controlling and intentionally adjusting the foods and supplements you consume during a period of change can have an incredibly positive impact on your day to day well-being. We can be there for each other – encourage one another to be resilient, positive and hopeful but, at the end of the day, the habits and patterns we create for ourselves are just as important. With diet and supplement intake being such a key factor to our bodies’ ability to cope, it behooves us to give our bodies every resource possible in order to deal with change and maintain balance.
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