Depression and Diet, The forth most cause of disability worldwide is ‘Depression’. It is one of the largest issues of the society which cannot be treated as “one size fits all”. Compared to men, women are almost twice as likely to suffer from depression.
Diet is a very important aspect of mental health. Multiple studies showed a link between risk of depression and what one eats. It might sound a bit overwhelming to think about eating right when mood is not in favor. However, some small changes in the diet can help to alleviate mood and have positive effect on one’s daily life.
Depression and Diet, Foods that help combat depression –
- Fish – known for its high omega – 3 fatty acids, fish is a great source to lift serotonin production thereby improve mood. Wild caught fish, especially salmon, sardines, mackerel and un-canned tuna are great choices to consider.
- Nuts – walnuts being one of the highest plant based sources of omega – 3 fatty acids are known to support overall brain health and keep blood sugar at bay. Nuts like cashew, hazel and Brazil are helpful to fight depression.
- Seeds – If one is looking for simple steps to alleviate their mood then flaxseeds and chia seeds are the most recommended of all seeds. These two seeds are rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids providing from 1 tsp of chia seeds of about 61% similarly flax seeds approximately 39% of daily recommended amount. Therefore these two seeds are most powerful accessible and simple to add in diet on regular basis.
- Pumpkin and squash seeds – approximately provide 58% of the daily recommended intake of tryptophan. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid producing niacin required to create serotonin.
- Beans – Chickpeas are rich in folate and contributes to 100% of the daily recommended value in just a ½ cup. Folate is a B – vitamin which helps body absorb vitamin B12 and amino acids helps in detox and formation of new cells. Also plays crucial role in maintaining sugar and balancing mood swings. Pinto beans offer 37% of daily recommended value of folate.
- Vegetables & Fruits – Our bodies are prone to make molecules called free radicals which can lead to cell damage, aging and depression. Brain is particularly at risk therefore these reactions can be inhibited by consumption of beta carotene from broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, spinach and sweet potato and vitamin C from blueberries, grapefruit, kiwi, oranges, potatoes, strawberries and tomato. Therefore yes, you need your veggies and fruits to stabilize your mood.
- Probiotics – presence of probiotics in gut is linked to good health. The probiotics living in human gut help reducing inflammation reactions by releasing stress free radicals. Foods rich in probiotics are yoghurt, tempeh, tofu, kimchi.
Foods not helpful in depression are canned & preservative foods, sugar, alcohol and caffeine. It is complicated to unravel how dietary changes may help to combat depression however there are plenty of nutrient rich food which can smartly keep our brain healthy.