Q: Dear Dr. Mao,
I go through periods where I am depressed for no apparent reason. My life circumstances remain the same, but I still feel blue, and there seems to be no reason for it. It only lasts a day or two and then disappears. How can I prevent this?
A: Depending on your gender and age, you may be experiencing hormonal changes that affect your moods. The best way to regulate them is through eating a proper balanced diet and practicing a good exercise program.
Here are some specific recommendations:
1. Eat smaller meals more frequently, and drink more liquids.
2. Avoid dairy, alcohol, coffee, sugar, and fatty foods. Excessive spicy foods are also not recommended, but a certain amount of pungency is beneficial. Also, you can test your susceptibility to the nightshade family of foods by avoiding tomatoes, red bell peppers, and eggplants for a while.
3. Make a juice of fresh water chestnut, lotus root, pear, and watermelon juice. Drink daily.
4. Make buckwheat and rice porridge with chestnuts and longan fruit (euphoria longan).
5. Begin your day with a 20-minute brisk walk in the fresh air. Get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.
6. You may consider learning and practicing some form of tai chi or qigong exercises, as these are very effective in balancing hormones and energy.
You might also try the herbal formula “Mood Elevation” to help relieve depression and calm the mind. Of course, discuss with your physician before beginning any new health regime.