A number of lifestyle factors can contribute to depression, but one that’s often overlooked is what you put in your mouth. Diet plays a huge role in depression. Do you crave sweet, salty, and fatty foods when you’re feeling blue? If so, you’re not alone. If we eat healthier foods like lean proteins, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and fish, we can put a lull to the junk food cravings and have higher energy levels and sharper mental focus if you add these good-mood foods to your diet provided you don’t have alergies to these foods.
If you’re looking for another option to treat your depression, try lean meat sources. Most lean sources of protein are good for beating depression, but turkey has the edge due to its relatively higher levels of a chemical called tryptophan. I think most of us know about Tryptophan at Thanksgiving when we get a little sleepy after dinner.
“Turkey is the best food we know of because of its tryptophan content,” says Robin H-C, a life coach, behaviorist, and author of Thinking Your Way to Happy! “This chemical stimulates serotonin production, which is a natural feel-good chemical your body produces.”
W hen eaten in moderation, most nuts are a good source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats as well as protein. But walnuts get the edge when it comes to lessening the symptoms of depression because they also are one of the richest plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids. “The omega-3s in walnuts support overall brain health,” says Robin H-
When it comes to omega-3 fatty acids, no food source is better than fatty fish like mackerel, bluefish, wild salmon, and tuna, says Talbott. He adds that the fatty acids found in these fish not only have specific brain-boosting properties to fight depression, but also are good for overall health as well. They improve circulation and reduce inflammation and your overall risk of heart disease.
Low Fat Dairy
Skim milk, yogurt, low-fat cheeses, cottage cheese and other dairy products are rich in calcium, vitamin D, and protein. These are great for your body for many reasons, including fighting depression.
Low-fat dairy is the richest dietary source of two powerhouse nutrients, calcium and vitamin D, as well as specific peptides (proteins) that induce a sense of well-being and relaxation.
“Complex carbohydrates are wonderful foods to improve mood quickly. Whole grains, brown rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and whole wheat pasta are all good choices. They help the body release serotonin.
Theanine is an amino acid naturally found in tea leaves that provides an anti-stress relaxation benefit to tea drinkers. The presence of theanine in green tea is thought to be responsible for the observation that caffeine intake in coffee drinkers (who aren’t getting theanine) is more apt to result in tension as opposed to the ‘relaxed alertness’ more common to tea drinkers.
If you’re feeling depressed, this bold spice found in many Indian and Asian curry dishes is a great way to boost your mood, among other benefits. Turmeric can indeed be considered one of the ‘spices of life’ because of its profound anti-inflammatory activity. Famously used in spicy Indian and Thai dishes, turmeric contains the active compounds turmerones and curcuminods, which have been associated with a wide range of health benefit.
Can chocolate be considered among the foods that fight depression? Current thinking is that the dark variety really can help boost your mood.
Dark chocolate helps to release serotonin and relaxes the blood vessels of the cardiovascular system. Just remember that dark chocolate is incredibly calorie-dense, with about 150 calories per ounce, so eat just one small piece at a time.