One of the most ignored factors of mental health is nutrition. Yet, food plays a vital role in our physical, psychological, and emotional health. In depression, it may seem hard to take care of the right foods. But some of these slight alterations in your diet may help decrease your symptoms and positively affect your routine life.
Foods That Help With Depression
Whatever your eating preferences, there is a wide range of options that can offer mood-boosting benefits. It doesn’t mean that you need to revamp your dietary habits and only eat these foods but being mindful of which foods affect your mood can help you better manage signs of depression.
Oily fish like salmon, mackerel, trout, tuna, and sardines, are rich in Omega 3 and are great choices to fight depression. Omega-3 fats are essential in brain health and help in regulating mood.
Cashews, brazil nuts, and hazelnuts contain omega-3 fats, and walnuts seem to be the star in this classification. That is why walnuts are known to improve overall brain health. In addition, Omega-3 and proteins in nuts help maintain sugar levels at a healthy balance.
Beans have plenty of protein and fiber, which help maintain stable and regular blood sugar levels. It doesn’t only help minimize the blood sugar ups and downs that can impact our moods, but beans are also great supplies of folate that improve the production of blood cells.
Flaxseed and chia seeds are wonderful sources of Omega-3 fats. Add a teaspoon of each seed to your daily diet. Just one tablespoon of chia seeds gives approximately 61% of your daily recommended amount of omega-3, and one tablespoon of flaxseed provides nearly 39% of the daily recommendation. Pumpkin and squash seeds are also helpful.
Chicken and turkey are wonderful sources of lean protein, which helps to regulate blood sugar levels, resulting in a balanced mood during the day. In addition, Turkey and chicken breasts offer high amounts of tryptophan. It helps create serotonin, which helps us retain healthy sleep and a well-balanced mood.
Yes, vegetables also help if you battle depression. This is because people with depression consume lesser folate as compared to healthy people.
Folate, fiber, and other nutrients make vegetables—particularly the darker leafy vegetables an excellent pick when looking for foods to help enhance and alleviate the mood.
Good gut health is linked with good mental health. Microorganisms like probiotics living in your gut play a significant role in mood regulation. These microorganisms reduce inflammation in the body, make feel-good neurotransmitters, and impact your stress response.
Foods rich in probiotics are yogurt, kimchi, tofu, miso, and tempeh.
Many of the processed foods or things contain preservatives and provide meager nutritional benefits. Your body is trying to make sense of what to do with such food, and it can drastically interrupt or cheat your body (and mind) of essential nutrients and energy it needs to function at its best.
Dr. Ramsha Shahid
Doctor of Human Nutrition and Dietetics.