“8 Foods That Can Help Relieve Depression and Boost Your Mood”

According to a report by the World Health Organization, over 264 million people worldwide suffer from depression. It is a mental illness characterized by symptoms of sadness, lethargy, and a loss of interest in life. While professional therapy and medication are often recommended for treating depression, making changes to your diet can also facilitate your mental and physical well-being.

In fact, a 2017 study found that people with moderate-to-severe depression experienced improved symptoms when they received nutritional counseling and switched to a more healthful diet. This means that incorporating the following foods into your diet while cutting back on others can help in combating depression and related symptoms.

Foods That Help With Depression

1. Oily Fish

Oily fish such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel are a great source of Vitamin D, which research has shown may help regulate mood and ward off depression. Vitamin D also has other health benefits, such as reducing fatigue and improving heart health.

While exposure to sunlight is the primary source of Vitamin D for most people, incorporating oily fish into your diet should not be overlooked. Other sources of Vitamin D include egg yolks, beef liver, and fortified dairy products.

2. Vegetables

Dark, leafy greens like spinach, kale, and arugula contain folate, a vitamin that people with depression often have a lower dietary intake of compared to those without depression. Vegetables are also rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K, which are critical for maintaining brain function and strengthening the immune system. Incorporating vegetables like broccoli, lettuce, and asparagus into your diet can help improve your mood.

3. Walnuts

Walnuts are an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential fats that support brain health and lower blood pressure. A study conducted between 2005-2014 found that depression scores were 26% lower among those who consumed about ΒΌ cup of walnuts per day. Consuming Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in walnuts, enhances a diet for depression.

4. Poultry

Chicken and turkey contain lean protein that helps maintain good health and also have an amino acid called tryptophan. The body uses tryptophan to help make melatonin and serotonin, which regulate sleep-wake cycles, appetite, sleep, mood, and pain. Incorporating chicken or turkey into your diet can help you maintain a healthy balance of rest and energy.

Foods That Worsen Depression

When coping with depression, it is essential to be aware of foods that could have a negative impact on your mental and physical health. By limiting or, in some cases, halting your intake of these foods, you can improve your chances of feeling better.

5. Alcohol

Alcohol is a depressant and can lead you to make bad decisions that will further exacerbate your depressive state. Consuming alcohol also requires energy and effort that could be used to make healthy choices.

To avoid or limit alcohol intake, you can avoid wine and spirits stores and grocery store sections with alcohol or eat in places that do not serve alcoholic beverages.

6. Sugar

Foods with high sugar content like cakes, cookies, and pies release feel-good hormones in the brain, but these effects are only temporary. Furthermore, sugar offers very little nutritional value and can drain B vitamins that are essential in enhancing mood and reducing depressive symptoms.

7. Fast Food

Fast foods like hamburgers, sausages, pizza, muffins, donuts, and croissants are loaded with trans-fat and trans-isomer fatty acids that have little nutritional value. Studies have linked regular consumption of such foods to a higher risk of depression.

8. Caffeine

Caffeine alters mood, brain function, and behavior, and consuming large amounts of caffeinated drinks may disrupt sleep patterns and make you feel anxious or irritable. Consider limiting or eliminating coffee and energy drinks from your diet and replacing them with healthier options like green tea.

In Conclusion

Constructing a diet for depression by incorporating the foods mentioned above can positively affect your mental, physical, and emotional well-being. By making smarter and healthier choices, such as switching to a healthier diet, you can help your body reflect the positive changes gradually. If you or a loved one is struggling with depression, seek professional help or contact Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for assistance.

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