Best Foods For Depression

Did you know that your diet can affect your mood? Not only by reducing your chances of developing depression but also by helping to alleviate the symptoms of this mental illness. Depression can often be overlooked as nothing more than being “down in the dumps” but it is far more than that. It can leave us feeling lethargic at best and suicidal at worst.

Certain foods can increase levels of serotonin, a mind-boosting brain chemical, helping us to feel more positive. Protein is another great choice, as it increases alertness and provides a steady supply of energy. Ensuring that you drink plenty of water and take in all of the essential nutrients will support the functioning of your body, supporting your mental health.

1. Asparagus

Folic acid deficiency has been linked to depression by various studies – and asparagus is bursting with the stuff! You can receive two thirds of your recommended daily intake of folic acid in just one cup of asparagus! While it is in season try to eat this tasty vegetable regularly.

2. Walnuts

Walnuts have been found to contain essential omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for your brain. They help to prevent memory loss, and research has even shown that they can reverse some signs of brain ageing. In supporting the balance of the brain chemistry, they could therefore help with alleviating some of the symptoms of depression.

3. Blueberries

Do not underestimate the tiny blueberry. This little globes of goodness are packed with antioxidants – which are wonderful for many health boosting reasons. They have been found to combat stress and help those suffering with depression. Snack on handfuls of blueberries, or sprinkle them over muesli.

4. Yogurt

Calcium is supportive of the central nervous system, reducing anxiety and irritability. Live yogurt also provides a dose of probiotics which are thought to have an impact on the chemical levels in the brain, lowering corticosterone, which is a hormone induced by stress. Enjoy yogurt with fruit for breakfast, or eat alone as a snack.

5. Garlic

Munching a bulb of garlic can have a myriad positive benefits on our bodies and brains in particular. They are teeming with antioxidants, which neutralise free radicals, preventing inflammation and damage to the brain through ageing over time. Garlic can also strengthen the immune system, which can help sufferers of depression, by keeping the body in good working order. The benefits can be felt with both raw and cooked garlic.

6. Almonds

Almonds are a great choice of snack food, because they contain high levels of magnesium and vitamin E, which are known to alleviate anxiety and depression, with the added benefit of fighting free radicals. Try chopping up a handful of almonds and adding them to your breakfast cereal.

7. Turkey

Turkey, along with other sources of lean protein contain tryptophan – which is a chemical which boosts the production of serotonin – the happy hormone, creating a natural high. Incorporate plenty of lean turkey in your weekly menu – the recipe ideas are endless!

8. Chocolate

In moderation, chocolate, particularly the dark variety, can be wonderful for our mental health. It can lower blood pressure, helping us to feel calm. It also contains high levels of antioxidants which protect the brain and keep it healthy. Treat yourself to a square a day for maximum benefit.

9. Spinach

Like asparagus, spinach is full of folic acid. It also provides magnesium, vitamin C and B-vitamins, which can calm symptoms of depression. It is thought to regulate levels of cortisol and promote a sense of well-being. Make sure you fill your plate with green leafy vegetables on a regular basis to ensure you get adequate levels of folic acid as well as vitamins and minerals.

10. Cashews

Our bodies do not store zinc, a mineral that has been linked to anxiety and depression when we do not have enough. Cashews are a good way of keeping topped up with zinc, with 1 ounce of these tasty nuts providing 11% of our recommended daily allowance. Eat a handful as a snack, or chop some up and add to a stir fry to gain the benefits.

11. Fatty Fish

Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in abundance in fatty fish, such as mackerel, wild salmon and tuna. Research has shown that they can fight depression while benefiting overall health. Try to incorporate fatty fish into your diet a few times a week for the best results.

12. Oatmeal

This complex carbohydrate is another way to trigger the release of the happy hormone, serotonin. Oatmeal also has antioxidant properties, while providing a slow steady release of energy. This keeps blood sugar levels stable, which can also help to prevent lethargy and mood slumps. Start your day the oatmeal way with a delicious bowl of porridge.

13. Avocado

Avocados are full of good stuff for your brain and nervous system. They fight fatigue, stress and depression thanks to the B vitamins and folic acid that they provide. Try mashing one up to make a guacamole side dish, enjoy!

14. Turmeric

This bright yellow spice can bring some sunshine into your life thanks to it’s wonderful anti-inflammatory effects. It contains turmerones and curcuminoids which are known to support mental health. Simply add the spice to your cooking to feel the difference that it could make to you.

15. Green Tea

Research has shown that green tea contains a brain boosting amino acid called theanine. It is thought to enhance mental performance, reducing levels of anxiety. Try replacing your regular cups of tea with the green variety to enjoy the depression reducing benefits.

16. Bananas

Studies have suggested that there is a link between low levels of potassium and symptoms of depression. This mineral is necessary for many functions performed in the body – including cell production, muscle activity and maintaining blood pressure. Bananas are also thought to contribute to the release of serotonin. They also provide many other vitamins and minerals, so eating plenty of bananas could be a great step to supporting your mental health and reducing depression.

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