The ways in which medication and therapy help combat depression are well known, but there’s another important area to consider- your diet. Many of the symptoms of depression can be directly linked to vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Depression, mood swings, and fatigue often have a common cause- poor nutrition. Avoiding depression or recovering from a depressive episode is often as easy as changing your diet and boosting your consumption of key foods that deliver brain-boosting nutrients that can help regulate brain chemistry.
The 6 foods for beating depression:
- Fish Oil: It contains omega-3 fatty acids which decrease symptoms of anxiety, sleep disorders, unexplained feelings of sadness, suicidal thoughts, and decreased sex drive. Vegetarians can source omega-3s through walnuts and flaxseeds and non-vegetarians can choose salmon or tuna.
- Brown Rice: It contains vitamins B1 and B3, and folic acid. Brown rice is also a low-glycemic food. Polished white rice does not offer these benefits. Any time you see "instant" on a food label, avoid it.
- Brewer's Yeast: It contains vitamins B1, B2, and B3. As a group, B vitamins play an important role both in alleviating depression and in relieving anxiety and restlessness which often accompanies it. Brewer's yeast should be avoided if you do not tolerate yeast well, but if you do, mix a tablespoon into any smoothie for your daily dose.
- Whole-Grain Oats: It contains folic acid, pantothenic acid, and vitamins B1 and B6. Oats help lower cholesterol, are soothing to the digestive tract, and help avoid the blood sugar crash-and-burn that can lead to crabbiness and mood swings.
- Cabbage: It contains vitamin C and folic acid and research has shown that people who are feeling depressed tend to have low levels of folic acid so this food can help fight depression.
- Brazil nuts : High in selenium, they are excellent for boosting brain function and eliminating depression.
Tryptophan is thought to be instrumental in treating depression in those patients who have not responded well to other antidepressants. Sources of tryptophan are dates, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, meat, fish, poultry, sesame, chickpeas, peanuts, soybeans, and soy products.
Things to Avoid:
- If you feel you are depressed or at risk for depression, you also need to avoid certain foods like caffeine and foods high in fat and sugar.
- Avoid smoking.
- Keeping your blood sugar stable and getting B vitamins is important for stabilizing your mood.
- Watch out for milk chocolate and candy varieties high in sugar.
- Consult your physician/psychologist for further guidance.