Cut the carbs to send winter blues packing

If there's any time of year that's downright depressing, this is it.

For many people, January is the crash after the "high" of the holidays. The lights are less twinkly, the walls look emptier, and the house can be so very quiet.

And that's especially true if you live alone and don't get out much anymore.

So, no one would blame you if you were feeling a little depressed.

But you DON'T have to wait for winter to be over in order to feel better -- because studies have shown that relieving your depression may be as simple as making some simple changes to your diet.

You see, refined carbs — chips, muffins, bagels, desserts, and even white rice — aren't just making us fat and diabetic. They're making us depressed, too.

In fact, based on data from more than 70,000 older women from the Women's Health Initiative study, Columbia University researchers found that the more refined carbs you eat, the greater your risk for developing depression.

It's a vicious cycle, really. Because when lots of us are feeling down in the dumps, we turn to these toxic "comfort foods" to help us feel better.

But "food" is supposed to provide vital nutrition that fuels the organs and cells throughout our bodies. Refined carbs, on the other hand, have had most of their nutritional value stripped right out of them.

All you get from refined carbs are toxic additives and preservatives... and a blood sugar spike that can cause organ damage, make you depressed, and force your body to store and accumulate fat.

They're having the opposite effect -- and making us feel WORSE!

As you probably know, these foods also cause inflammation, heart disease, and high blood sugar.

And inflammation in your brain -- which can also be caused by a diet high in sugar -- has also been linked to depression.

Now, you know what I'm going to say next. I recommend my patients follow a Paleo Diet that focuses on fresh meats, fruits, and vegetables. If our caveman ancestors couldn't have eaten it, you shouldn't eat it either — and that includes processed foods and refined carbs.

And the Columbia researchers found that the more natural foods you eat, the lower your depression risk — and that's something I've seen with my own patients.

Giving up the sweets isn't easy for anyone. Fortunately, supplements like chromium have been proven to reduce your cravings for carbs.

One study found that people who took chromium supplements for just eight weeks were able to dramatically reduce their carb cravings.

And once the cravings stop, you'll begin to lose your taste for this junk completely.

If you've battled a lifetime of depression, it's time to go talk to somebody and get some real help. But if feeling depressed is new to you, look to changes in your diet as the possible culprit.

Consuming highly refined carbohydrates increases risk of depression