As we know, there are several medications and alternative therapies available to treat depression. The interesting fact is that proper food and nutrition is capable of steering your mood in the most positive way. Research has revealed that deficiency in essential nutrients in the diet can cause as well as add to the symptoms of depression. The positive aspect of the research news is that you can fight and cure depression with helpful nutrients in your diet. In this article, we will explore the specific diet and foods which will help you in the battle against depression.
Depression is caused when there are low levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and nor-adrenaline in your body. According to research studies, lack of essential nutrients is responsible for the deficiencies in these neurotransmitter Food rich in complex carbohydrates, folic acid, omega 3 fatty acids, selenium and protein can help prevent and overcome depression.
Foods for Depression with Complex Carbohydrates
Did you know that complex carbohydrates help in triggering of tryptophan in the brain?
Some of the foods that contain complex carbohydrate are mentioned below:
- Multi-grain bread
- Brown rice
- Low-fat yogurt
- Kidney beans
Vitamin B complex
Research has shown clear evidence that you can improve your mood with intake of vitamin B2 (chicken, bananas, seeds, nuts, cauliflowers, and whole grain) and B6 (meat of organs like liver and kidney , eggs, oyster, fish, and dairy products).
Folic Acid can help overcome depression and it is found in the foods listed below:
Whole grain bread and wheat flour
Green leafy vegetables (spinach)
Bananas, oranges, and peaches.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Science and research indicate that deficiency of omega 3 fatty acids in the body can lead to depression as well. Omega 3 fatty acids are not produced naturally in the body and we recommend that you include fish oil and flax seeds in your diet. . It is also evident through literature that prevalence of depression is low in individuals living in countries where more fish is consumed. Other foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids are:
- Green beans, Kidney beans
Foods for Depression that are high in Selenium
Research shows that deficiency of selenium is attributed to depression. Load up on foods that are rich in selenium and beat you depression with the foods listed below:
Foods Rich in Proteins
Amino Acids are essential for mind and body and its deficiency can lead to depression. There are total of 12 essential amino acids and eight cannot be produced naturally by the human body. Deficiency of dopamine and serotonin is related to deficiency of amino acids. Adding protein to your diet is very important to keep depression in control.
Food for depression that are rich in protein::
- Milk and other dairy products
- Plant proteins such as beans, peas, and grains may also provide some amount of protein.
Foods that contribute to Depression
We all love to indulge in junk food. Did you know that processed foods as listed below can trigger depression. I would encourage you to minimise intake of foods listed below:
Ready to eat meals
Soft drinks ( high sugar content)
Chocolate chips, chocolate mocha
A Word of Caution
Individuals suffering from any specific medical conditions or under restricted diet should take advice from a registered dietitian, nutritionist or a medical doctor. Individuals should also refer to internet resources to check for rating and reviews of providers. NourishDoc (http://www.nourishdoc.com) has been trying to build a community that is based on evidence and outcomes on Integrative and Natural medicine.
Foods that have high carbohydrates in its content can affect the insulin levels in diabetic patients. Similarly, intake of proteins and dairy products can be harmful to individuals living with chronic kidney diseases. Research has shown that olive oil has certain compounds that can lead to thinning of blood. Consult your physician before you take fish oil or aspirin. Individuals with celiac disease and gluten allergy should avoid wheat, barley, and rye.
Marohn, S. (2003). The natural medicine guide to depression. Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Pub.
Rao, T. S., Asha, M., Ramesh, B., & Rao, K. J. (2008). Understanding nutrition, depression and mental illnesses. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 50(2), 77. doi:10.4103/0019-5545.42391
Rich, S. (2014). Depression-Free:101 natural ways to beat depression. Retrieved from https://books.google.com.pk/books?id=5V2jXAZ0bpoC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
Lin, P., & Su, K. (2007). A Meta-Analytic Review of Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trials of Antidepressant Efficacy of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 68(07), 1056-1061. doi:10.4088/jcp.v68n0712