Which foods can help fight depression and which can't?
Treatment for depression includes medication, therapy and self-care. Self-care consists of diet, physical activity and sleep. The food we consume affects not only our physical health, but also our mental and emotional health. Diet is such an integral aspect of mental health that there is an entire field of medicine called nutritional psychiatry dedicated to it.
In this blog, we shall discuss which foods can help fight depression and which ones can’t. Let’s take up the foods that can help with depression:
You must have heard this a lot, but it applies here too: you need to eat your veggies! Especially leafy green vegetables are recommended as they are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Include more of vegetables like spinach, broccoli, kale, sprouts and watercress in your diet. The past few decades have seen researchers find compelling evidence that people who eat fruits and vegetables have fewer symptoms of depression, stress, and overall negativity.
Besides protein, fish also provides good amount of Omega-3 fatty acids, which help build connections between brain cells as well as build and strengthen the receptor sites for neurotransmitters. Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, trout, anchovy, sardines, shad and tuna are recommended to fight depression.
Seeds like Flaxseed, Chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc. are considered to be superfoods for the human body. Apart from their many other health benefits, they also help fight depression. Pumpkin seeds and squash seeds are a good addition to increase tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid that helps create serotonin.
Beans and legumes:
Beans and legumes give your body protein and fiber, both of which help to maintain stable and consistent blood sugar levels, thereby preventing mood swings. Include chickpeas and Pinto beans in your diet.
Chicken and Turkey:
Chicken and turkey are the most well-known sources of lean protein. They stabilize blood sugar level and also provide tryptophan, which helps us in maintaining healthy sleep and a balanced mood.
Now, let’s find out what foods aren’t helpful for depression:
Not only are sugary foods and drinks bad for your weight, they are also not a good idea for someone fighting depression. They cause spikes and dips in mood. Watch out for packaged food with ingredients like fructose, lactose, corn syrup, etc.
Except for tending to your taste buds, trans fat does no good to your body. Food stuff made in hydrogenated oil like French fries and fried chicken increase your risk of depression. Comfort food might make you feel good for a short time, but it has been proved that it is detrimental to your mood in the long run.
When you say refined, you refer to forms of sugars and starches that don't exist in nature. They barely have any nutritional value and are linked to depression. Avoid foods like white rice, pasta, crackers, bread, chips, and breaded foods.
To get more information or help on your battle with depression, consult our experts at Fort Lauderdale Behavioral Wellness.