Research has brought great news for the people who always crave for some extra spice and chili in their food! Scientists declare chili peppers to mediate the symptoms of depression.
A study, validating this fact, was published in the European Journal of Medicinal Plants. This experimental study led to the fact that chili pepper extracts exhibit anti-depressive effects. The researchers from Kaduna State University in Nigeria carried out the respective study. They aimed to determine whether methanol fruit extract of chili pepper is a potent antidepressant or not.
The researchers carried out three tests in mice which included,
- Force Swim Test (FST)
- Tail Suspension Test (TST)
- Open Field Test (OFT)
For the first two tests i.e. FST and TST, the researchers divided 30 mice into five groups.
- One group was kept on saline
- Another group was treated with antidepressant drug Imipramine
- The three remaining groups received 500 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg), 1000 mg/kg, and 2000 mg/kg of methanol extract of fruits of chili pepper, respectively.
In the OFT, 25 mice were divided into five groups.
- One group received normal saline
- Another group was provided with Diazepam
- The other three groups were given methanol fruit extracts of chili pepper at doses i.e. 500 mg/kg, 1000 mg/kg, and 2000 mg/kg.
The results of the FST and TST determined that the chili pepper extracts significantly cut the immobility time of the mice that utilized the extracts, as compared to the group that was given saline. Note that the effects of the extracts were dose-dependent. The 2000 mg/kg of chili pepper extract was seen to cause the highest reduction. On contrary, results of the OFT suggest that chili pepper extracts did not cause any inspiring effects.
The researchers attributed anti-inflammatory and antioxidant flavonoids and triterpene, present in the plant, for the anti-depressive effects of the extracts.
Concluding the whole story, the decrement in behavioral despair of the subjects under observation indicates that chili pepper may help in managing or mediating the symptoms of depression.
Other natural antidepressants
Although the pharmaceutical industries are loaded with prescription medications for depression, these drugs often impose severe side effects. In addition to chili peppers, there are many other natural antidepressants available as well. Here are some herbs and nutrients that can help you to improve the symptoms of depression naturally.
Depression is often linked to low levels of folic acid. Thus, eating foods and supplements that increase the levels of folate can help treat depression. Avocados, beans, dark leafy greens, fortified cereals, lentils, and sunflower seeds are some foods rich in folic acid.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Research declares that people undergo depression due to low levels of two brain chemicals found in fish oil. Fish oil supplements contain omega-3 fatty acids that work to supply the brain with crucial nutrients. Omega-3 is found naturally in fatty fish like salmon, trout, and sardines.
It is more than just a spice and can also help treat depression. Saffron stigma, the end of the carpel in the flower, improves mild to moderate depression.
This nutrient is associated with learning and behavior. Low levels of zinc are linked with depression. Researchers suggest that 25 mg of zinc supplement every day for 12 weeks helps to improve depression symptoms.