Foods to Help Fight Depression, Nutrition is one of the most ignored factors of mental wellness. Food has a huge impact on our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It can be difficult to think about eating healthy foods when you are depressed. However, some of these minor dietary modifications may help to alleviate your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Foods That Help With Depression
Whatever your dietary preferences, there are a number of foods that can help you feel better. This isn’t to say you should change your eating habits and exclusively eat these meals, but being aware of how certain foods affect your mood might help you better manage depression symptoms.
Salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines, and tuna (not canned) are all excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids that can aid with depression. Why? Because they are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Furthermore, the researchers looked at 26 published studies (with over 150,000 people) that looked at the link between fish diet and depression risk. People who ate the most fish were less likely to develop depression symptoms, according to the study, which was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
More clinical trials are needed to investigate the impact of omega-3 fatty acids on depression and mental health, according to the findings.
Although other nuts like cashews, Brazil nuts, and hazelnuts can aid with omega-3 fat supplementation, walnuts appear to be the clear winner. Walnuts are known for supporting overall brain health since they are one of the highest plant-based sources of omega-3 and a good source of protein that helps keep blood sugar levels in check.
According to one study, people who ate around 1/4 cup of walnuts per day had a 26% lower risk of depression.
2 Researchers looked at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, including over 26,000 adults from across the United States.
Adults who ate nuts, mainly walnuts, had better levels of optimism, vitality, hope, attention, and more substantial interest in activities, according to the study.
Beans are high in protein and fiber, both of which assist to keep blood sugar levels constant and consistent.There are high in folate and can help reduce blood sugar surges and dips, which can affect our mood. Folate is a B vitamin that aids in the production of blood cells, DNA, and RNA, as well as the metabolization of proteins.
Garbanzo beans (commonly known as chickpeas) are high in folate, with just 1/2 cup providing over 100% of the required daily dose. Pinto beans are another excellent alternative, providing 37 percent of the daily required folate dose in a half-cup serving.
If you suffer from depression, flaxseed and chia seeds are excellent additions to your diet. These two types of seeds, like some of the other foods mentioned, are particularly high in omega-3 fats. One tablespoon of chia seeds provides around 61 percent of your daily necessary omega-3 intake, whereas one tablespoon of flaxseed provides approximately 39 percent.
As you can see, these two seeds have a lot of power when it comes to improving your diet and mood in subtle ways. In addition, pumpkin and squash seeds are excellent sources of tryptophan. Tryptophan is a necessary amino acid for the production of serotonin.
Although most people associate tryptophan with turkey, there are a variety of other foods that have higher levels of this crucial amino acid. Pumpkin and squash seeds are near the top of the list, with just one ounce delivering over 58 percent of the daily required tryptophan intake.
Both chicken and turkey are excellent sources of lean protein that can help to regulate blood sugar levels and keep your mood in check throughout the day. Turkey and chicken breasts are considered to be high in tryptophan, in addition to being reliable sources of lean protein. This is beneficial because it aids in the production of serotonin, which aids in the maintenance of healthy sleep and a balanced mood.
3 ounces of roasted chicken breast has 123 percent of the daily required tryptophan consumption. Many of us already eat chicken breast on a regular basis, but adding more lean protein to your weeks, such as turkey and chicken, will help you get more tryptophan.
Yes, you must consume your vegetables. Although this is good for everyone, if you suffer from depression, eating veggies might be very beneficial. One factor is that people with depression have a lower dietary intake of folate than those who do not have depression.
Vegetables, particularly the darker leafy greens, are high in folate, fiber, and other minerals, making them excellent for improving and stabilizing mood. Alpha-linolenic acid can also be found in leafy green vegetables (ALA). The other two forms of omega-3 fatty acids are DHA and EPA, and ALA is one of them.
A growing body of evidence links excellent gut health to good mental health. 6 Several studies have indicated that bacteria in your gut, such as probiotics, can help regulate your mood by reducing inflammation, producing feel-good neurotransmitters, and influencing your stress response.
This could be one of the reasons why a higher-than-average number of persons with irritable bowel syndrome also suffer from depression and anxiety.
Probiotics are found in the following foods:
8. Whole Foods
In general, it’s preferable to give your body as much freedom as possible to digest nutrients in their original state.
Many processed meals and items found at convenience stores are high in preservatives and provide little to no nutritional value. Your body is attempting to figure out what to do with this stuff, and it can cause major disruption or rob your body (and mind) of essential nutrients and energy.
Foods That May Exacerbate Depression
It’s just as vital to know what not to eat if you’re dealing with depression. Unfortunately, several of these items are commonly consumed when people are having a bad day. Of course, most things in moderation are safe. But understanding the harmful effects particular meals might have on your mental health can help you make better eating choices.
We all know that sugary meals and beverages are bad for our health. Sugar can affect your mood as well as your waistline, something you may not be aware of. There are sugar-laden foods everywhere around us. Such as cakes, cookies, cereal, drinks, and even condiments like barbecue sauce, salad dressings, and more.
Sugar isn’t often identified simply as “sugar” on ingredient lists. If you’re looking for additional sugar, you should also look for the following terms:
- Corn syrup
- High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
Limit sugary foods, especially those with added sugars, by being conscious of your selections. Maintaining a more even blood sugar level throughout the day will also help you maintain a more even mood.
2. Refined Grains
We are surrounded by processed goods that use refined grains, just as we are by sugar. According to Dr. Georgia Ede, MD, a psychiatrist and nutritional specialist, the phrase “refined” refers to sugars and carbohydrates that do not exist in nature.
“You are looking at an unrefined carbohydrate if you are looking at a sweet or starchy entire item that you would come across precisely as it is in nature,” she continues.
Many of the foods we crave for convenience are the very items that can make you feel bad. White rice, pasta, crackers, bread, chips, and breaded foods are high in refined carbs, which provide little to no nutritional value and deplete your B vitamins during digestion.
If you suffer from depression, you should limit your alcohol consumption. Because alcohol is a depressant, it can decrease judgment and reaction time. Many alcoholic beverages are actually fairly sweet, which can sabotage your mood and cause blood sugar levels to rise and fall, as previously said.
While some studies suggest that little doses of alcohol, such as red wine, can be beneficial,
If you suffer from depression, it is normally to your best advantage to stay away. “Alcohol will not fix any of your health problems,” Dr. Ede says, “since a lack of alcohol causes no health problem.”
Yes, caffeine can give you a lift in the morning. It can, however, lead to crashes later in the day, leaving you feeling as though you need more to recoup your energy. Because we drink coffee and energy drinks on a regular basis, many Americans are overcaffeinated.
Caffeine in moderation, such as two to three cups per day, has been associated with a lower risk of suicide.
A Word From Verywell
Our bodies interact with the foods we eat. And the daily decisions we make can have an impact on our bodies ability to function optimally. Although no single diet has been proved to cure sadness. We can see that there are many nutrient-dense meals that can help to keep our brains in good shape.
Before making any major dietary changes, it’s a good idea to consult with your doctor. Remember to be patient with yourself. As you begin to experiment with different foods and allow your body to acclimatize to the adjustments you’re making. Making better eating choices can benefit your overall health as well as your mental well-being.