Nutrition is one of the most critical yet overlooked aspects of mental health. A healthy diet not only plays an important role in our physical health but also positively affects our emotional and brain health.
Moreover, choosing the right foods can become a little overwhelming if you’re suffering from depression. However, making small changes in your daily diet can improve your daily life and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
In recent years, depressive and anxiety disorder has increased dramatically. According to the Statista stats, depressive or anxiety disorder rose in adults from 11% to 41% from 2019 to the start of 2021.
Many people take prescription medications, but they contain different drugs and alcohol that can cause negative side effects. That's why the right selection of foods is a great remedy to achieve good mental health.
Foods to Avoid
Before discussing the best 5 foods to deal with depression, let’s discuss the ones to avoid if you’re struggling with depression.
First of all, you must stop eating junk food. You should also avoid heavily processed foods that contain refined sugars, processed grains, saturated fat, and caffeine. According to Harvard Health Publishing, a high refined sugar diet increases mood disorder signs, including depression, fatigue, and low mood.
Moreover, green tea is a better alternative to energy drinks and coffee to start your day because it comes with anti-stress benefits.
Other than that, you should also avoid illegal drugs and alcohol and consult with your doctor if you find it difficult to abstain from them.
Best Foods to Eat
Following a routine of eating at regular intervals is one of the most important things before choosing the right foods to fight depression.
In this article, we have gathered some of the best healthy foods that will provide your body with the necessary nutrients that it needs and share with you some essays about depression.
Moreover, they’re also high in complex carbohydrates, fiber, and protein that are best for fighting depression.
Fish caught in the wild, especially tuna (not canned), sardines, trout, mackerel, and salmon are great options to deal with depression.
They’re good sources of fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids that improve brain health. They can also play an important role in reducing mood swings by regulating neurotransmitters that make you feel good.
Researchers examined 26 different published studies, which collectively involved over 150,000 people in analyzing if the depression risk and consumption of fish are somehow linked or not.
Resultantly, a BMJ Journals research found that the more the consumption of fish by people, the less the signs of depressive disorder.
If you're suffering from depression, then consider adding chia seeds and flaxseed to your diet. Both of these seeds are loaded with omega-3 fats.
Only one tablespoon of flaxseed offers 30% of the daily omega-3 recommended amount. Moreover, the same quantity of chia seeds comes with 61% of the omega-3 daily recommendation.
If you're looking for smart ways to regulate your mood and improve your diet, then these seeds are a great option.
You can also opt for squash and pumpkin seeds which also pack a powerful punch to increase tryptophan. It’s an essential amino acid that your body needs to create serotonin. Many people consider that turkey meat is the best and common option to get tryptophan.
However, squash and pumpkin seed are two great food options that offer more amounts of tryptophan other than turkey. Only one ounce of any of these seeds offers about 58% of the daily tryptophan recommended amount.
Beans are an excellent source of fibre and other essential nutrients. It helps your internal system to maintain consistent and stable blood sugar levels.
Other than mitigating the blood sugar spikes that can greatly impact your frame of mind, beans also come with folate. It’s basically a Vitamin B that helps in producing RNA, DNA, and blood cells.
Chickpeas which are also known as garbanzo beans, also offer large amounts of folate. Only a half cup of garbanzo beans offers 100% of the daily folate recommended amount.
Another great option is pinto beans, and a half cup of these offers 37% of the daily folate recommended value.
You can use many nut types such as hazelnuts, brazil-nuts, and cashews to supplement omega-3 fats. However, walnuts are clearly the winner because they offer the highest omega-3 fats amount.
They’re known to support and maintain overall mental well-being. An MDPI study shows that participants who consumed walnuts (¼ cup daily) showed 26% lower depression scores.
Researchers analyzed the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data collected from a sample of over 26,000 adults from the US.
The analysis shows that adults consuming walnuts have higher levels of concentration, hope, energy, optimism, and more interest in social activities.
Consuming vegetables is important for everyone whether s/he is suffering from anxiety or depressive disorder or not.
However, it's specifically important for adults suffering from a depressive disorder. That's because, according to the Journal of Psychopharmacology, they have a lower dietary folate intake than mentally fit individuals.
Important materials such as fibre and folate make veggies one of the best foods to stabilize and improve your overall well-being.
Veggies, especially with darker leafy greens, are rich in ALA (Alpha-Linolenic Acid). It is one of the three most important omega-3 fat types.
Some of the most important veggies that you should take are watercress, kale, spinach, and brussels sprouts. Fruits are also a great option, especially berries that are packed with a variety of phenolic compounds and antioxidants.
These materials play a big role in dealing with oxidative stress. They’re also rich in anthocyanins that, according to a study, lowers the risk of depressive disorder signs by 30%.
Hence, it is wise to try and incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your day to day diet. One method which is enjoyable is to prepare green juice recipes that are sweet yet nutritious.
Anything that we eat interacts with our bodies, and it can affect our ability to function in both positive and negative ways. The best 5 foods that we mentioned above can help you to deal with a depressed brain and maintain your mental and emotional health.
Keep in mind that it’s important to consult with your doctor before making any significant changes in your dietary plan.
Next, learn how to incorporate what you have learned above into an organised and balanced nutrition diet plan. We have meal planning tips for you that are quick and easy!