10 Ways to Eat Your Way Out of Depression

Diet for Depression

How can my diet affect my depression?

Dietary changes can bring about changes in your brain structure, both chemically and physiologically. Those changes can improve mood and mental outlook. Here are 10 tips for eating if you or a loved one is recovering from clinical depression.

  1. Eat a diet high in nutrients
    Nutrients in foods support the body’s repair, growth, and wellness. Nutrients we all need include vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein, and even a small amount of fat. A deficiency in any of these nutrients leads to our bodies not working at full capacity – and can even cause illness.
  2. Fill your plate with essential antioxidants
    Damaging molecules called free radicals are produced in our bodies during normal body functions – and these free radicals contribute to aging and dysfunction. Antioxidants have been shown to tie up these free radicals and take away their destructive power. Foods high in powerful antioxidants, include::

    • Sources of beta-carotene: apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, collards, peaches, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potato
    • Sources of vitamin C: blueberries, broccoli, grapefruit, kiwi, oranges, peppers, potatoes, strawberries, tomato.
    • Sources of vitamin E: nuts and seeds, vegetable oils, wheat germ.
  3. Eat “smart” carbs for a calming effect
    Don’t shun carbs – just make smart choices. Limit sugary foods and opt for smart carbs, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, which all contribute healthy carbs as well as fiber.
  4. Eat protein-rich foods to boost alertness
    Foods rich in protein, like turkey, tuna, or chicken, are rich in an amino acid called tyrosine. Tyrosine boosts levels of the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine. This boost helps you feel alert and makes it easier to concentrate.
  5. Eat a Mediterranean-type diet
    The Mediterranean diet is a balanced, healthy eating pattern that includes plenty of fruits, nuts, vegetables, cereals, legumes, and fish. All of these are important sources of nutrients linked to preventing depression.
  6. Get plenty of vitamin D
    Vitamin D increases levels of serotonin in the brain.
  7. Select selenium-rich foods
    Selenium is a mineral that is essential to good health. They include:

    • Beans and legumesLean meat (lean pork and beef, skinless chicken and turkey)
    • Low-fat dairy products
    • Nuts and seeds (particularly brazil nuts
    • Seafood (oysters, clams, sardines, crab, saltwater fish, and freshwater fish)
    • Whole grains (whole-grain pasta, brown rice, oatmeal, etc.)
  8. Include omega-3 fatty acids in your diet
    We know that omega-3 fatty acids have innumerable health benefits. Recently, scientists have revealed that a deficit of omega-3 fatty acids is associated with depression.
    Sources of omega-3 fatty acids: fatty fish (anchovy, mackerel, salmon, sardines, shad, and tuna), flaxseed, nuts, canola oil, soybean oil, walnuts, and dark green leafy vegetables.
  9. Watch your lifestyle habits
    Many people who are depressed also have problems with alcohol and/or drugs. Alcohol and drugs interfere with mood, sleep, and motivation.
  10. Stay at a healthy weight
    Findings published in the journal of Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, show a link between obesity and depression, indicating that people who are obese may be more likely to become depressed. In addition, according to this study, people who are depressed are more likely to become obese. Researchers believe the link between obesity and depression may result from physiological changes that occur in the immune system and hormones with depression.

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