Depression is more and more spread in today’s hectic society.
Although there isn’t any specific diet to cure depression, food has an important role in the battle against it.
A diet with no nutritious value may increase the risk of depression, whereas a healthy, diverse diet may be very helpful in fighting it.
What’s the connection between food and depression?
One recent study showed that a group of people with mild to severe depression had a significant mood improvement when they started eating healthily.
This was the first study to show that a certain way of eating can relieve the symptoms of depression.
Besides that, every third participant in this three-month experiment stopped showing signs of depression!
So, these are the most important ingredients and nutrients that can ease symptoms of depression.
Best foods that fight depression:
1. Foods high in Selenium
A low level of selenium is connected with a bad mood.
You can find selenium in supplements and in some food such as wholegrain cereals, Brazil nuts, liver, and certain seafood.
2. Foods high in Vitamin D
A lack of vitamin D is the cause of many disorders, including depression. (1)
That’s why it is very important to intake vitamin D when you struggle with depression.
You can produce vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight, or you can take quality supplements that contain this vitamin.
Food like fish, especially salmon, tuna, and mackerel is a great source of vitamin D.
3. Foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids
Nuts are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids which can help in the treatment of mood disorders and improve cognitive functions.
One study revealed that populations who don’t intake enough omega 3 fatty acids may have higher rates of depression.
Good sources of omega 3 fatty acids are salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, flaxseed, flaxseed oil, chia seed, walnuts, and almonds.
A sufficient intake of omega 3 fatty acids increases the level of healthy fats that are available to your brain and protects the myelin sheath which protects your brain cells and maintains your brain at its highest level.
4. Foods high in Antioxidants
Antioxidants became popular when people discovered that they are the best fighters against free radicals, compounds that affect cell damage and eventually cause one of the worst diseases, cancer.
Brain cells are particularly sensitive when it comes to free radicals’ attacks.
That’s the reason why food high in antioxidants is essential for the regeneration and protection of the brain cells.
Many ingredients contain high levels of antioxidants: cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, apples, beans, walnuts, hazelnuts…
5. Foods high in Vitamin B
Mood disorders, such as depression may be influenced by vitamin B deficiency.
Vitamin B2 or vitamin B9 are related to a decreased risk of mood disorder.
Good sources of vitamin B are eggs, poultry meat, fish, milk, wholegrain cereals, beans…
6. Foods high in Zinc
Zinc helps your body perceive taste, it stimulates your immune system, and it can affect depression.
The level of zinc can be lower in people with clinical depression and taking zinc supplements can improve the efficiency of antidepressants.
Ingredients that are high in zinc: oysters, beans, and walnuts.
7. Food high in quality proteins
High-quality proteins are basic elements and some of them can be very useful for fighting depression.
Tuna has a high level of tryptophan, essential amino acids that are necessary for the secretion of the serotonin hormone.
People used to think that a lack of serotonin was the main reason for depression.
Now we know that the relationship between serotonin and depression is very complex, however it affects depression in many people.
Food high in tryptophan can help relieve the symptoms of depression and some of the ingredients which contain it are mozzarella, turkey, almonds, bananas, cow cheese, fish, peanuts, pumpkin seeds…
8. Aloe vera
Detox is a great way of cleaning your body and getting rid of toxins that have been piling up for years.
It’s well-known that cleaning your body helps your mental health and that there are many benefits of regular detoxication.
One of the most common ways of detox is taking a certain kind of food or drink made of plants.
Aloe vera is one of the best.
You can improve your overall health by using natural and healthy ingredients.
Products made of plants digest fast and your body absorbs them easily.
Thousands of people use Aloe vera products that help them fight depression and feel better.
The amino acids in Aloe vera almost satisfy the recommended daily intake.
One vital amino acid that Aloe vera has is tryptophan, serotonin’s precursor, which is used as prevention of depression and anxiety.
You can read more about aloe vera health benefits here.
Foods to avoid if you want to beat depression
So, you read about the best foods that fight depression.
On the other hand, you should avoid these foods if you suffer from depression:
Carton box juice and soda
The fiber from fresh fruit makes you feel full and they slow down the consumption of energy.
Carton box juice doesn’t contain fiber, which means you are drinking sweet water.
And that sugar lifts your energy level, but it also drops it very fast which can result in feeling anxious.
Sodas have the same effect as carton box juice so try to avoid them.
Toast and other white flour products
If a product is made of white flour, avoid it. Instead, choose wholegrain bread and pastry.
Fake dietary products
This type of products contains artificial sugars and research has shown that artificial sweeteners can affect anxiety and depression.
Carefully read the ingredients before buying light and dietary products.
Ketchup contains lots of sugar, 4 grams per bag.
Try making your own ketchup with fresh tomatoes, basil, and olive oil.
Many studies showed that caffeine is related to anxiety since it can cause difficulties with sleeping.
Also, the effect of caffeine on your body lasts hours after intaking it.
People with depression should avoid caffeine, or at least cut down on this ingredient and stop intaking it in the afternoon.
Food high in calories and low in nutrients may also affect symptoms of depression.
If you eat a lot of processed meat, cereals, fried food, sweets and dairy with a lot of fat, you may feel the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
A diet high in fiber can reduce those symptoms, so eat fresh fruit and veggies, fish, and chicken.
Drinking too much alcohol can increase the risk of panic attacks or depressive episodes.
Alcohol may change people’s mood and they may get addicted to it which can influence symptoms of depression.