Depression and Diet, a guest post

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Today, I have the pleasure to share Ralph Macey’s post on the right diet for depression.

Getting to know the author of this article!

Ralph Macey is a professional writer since 2008.  He is a medical health/patient care coordinator at savantcare.com since 2014 where he writes articles on all mental health-related subjects. He holds a degree and two professional certifications in his field and continues to upgrade his knowledge with additional classes and seminars. He also provides mental health consultations and private fitness instructions for free in his local community.

 

The right diet for depression – Foods that help you to manage it!

We all face similar kinds of situations. After a dreadful day at college or office, when you return home in a sour mood, you look for comfort food. Whether it is a thin crust pizza loaded with cheese, a dollop of ice cream, or a hamburger that brings comfort to your heart, food can give the much-required emotional relief you are craving. While you may feel like the queen of the world for a few moments after having sinful delicacies, the diet you have can make your mood worse over time.

If you have clinical depression, an unhealthy diet is something you must avoid. It can make your depression symptoms worse. Again, a healthy and nutritious diet can help to control your depression symptoms and improve your mental well-being.

Foods that may help manage depression symptoms

The right diet along with medication, psychotherapy, and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy can help you manage your depression symptoms. Here are a few foods you can include in your regular diet to improve your mental health.

Foods enriched with Vitamin D: Several studies have shown that there is an indirect link between Vitamin D deficiency and depression.   The ultimate source of Vitamin D is the Sun. You can sunbathe in the morning to soak Vitamin D in your body. However, apart from the Sun, you can also get Vitamin D from the food. Regular consumption of milk, beef liver, fish, egg, and tofu can supply a substantial amount of vitamin D into your body.

Foods enriched with Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are good for mental health. They help lower your depression symptoms. Some foods that contain Omega-3 fatty acids are:

  • Fish like Salmon, Tuna, Trout, Sardines, Herring, Mackerel, Anchovy, etc.
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Canola oil
  • Leafy vegetables
  • Chia seeds
  • Nuts (cashew nuts, walnuts, brazil nuts)

Walnuts are the best plant-based source of Omega-3 fatty acid. Apart from improving mental health, it also helps to balance blood sugar levels. According to a study, the depression score in people who consume 1/4th cups of walnuts is 26% less than others. The survey included 26,000 US adults. The result of the survey showed that those who consume walnuts are more likely to have high concentration power, hope, positivity, concentration power, and so on.

Omega-3 fatty acids are also good for the heart. Now, you have one more reason to eat food that contains Omega-3 fatty acids.

Healthy carbohydrates: Serotonin is a mood-lifting neurotransmitter. Consumption of healthy carbohydrates can help to trigger serotonin. So, instead of removing healthy carbohydrates from your diet, you can have them when your mood is sour. Foods that contain good carbs are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.

Foods enriched with Selenium: According to several studies, there is a connection between selenium deficiency and depression. Proper intake of selenium may help to boost mood, lower anxiety symptoms, and manage depression.

Foods that contain selenium are: 

  • Lean meats like chicken, beef, pork, turkey.
  • Brazil nuts have a high selenium content.
  • Seafood like freshwater fish, crab, oysters, sardines, saltwater fish, and clams.
  • whole grains such as oatmeal, whole-grain pasta, brown rice, etc.)
  • Organ meat. For example, Liver.

Supplements containing selenium are there. But it is always best to eat foods that are a natural source of selenium. An adult should have 55 micrograms of selenium each day.

Foods enriched with Vitamin B: Individuals with low levels of vitamin B are more likely to have depression. Studies have revealed that vitamin B deficiency may lead to depression.

An adult should have 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B every day. Human beings are unable to generate vitamin B12. You can get it from food or supplements.

A Mediterranean diet contains a high level of vitamin B12. 

The diet includes foods like dark green vegetables, legumes, fruits, and nuts. Another good source of Vitamin B12 is low-fat animal products.

Protein-based foods: Protein-rich foods like chicken, turkey, and tuna contain amino acids called tryptophan. This element may help to generate serotonin. It is best to eat food that has protein many times a day, especially when you want to be alert and boost your energy.

Some good sources of protein are yogurt, beans, cheese, peas, fish, soy products, poultry, etc.

Can an unhealthy diet lead to depression?

Does depression provoke us to eat unhealthy foods? Or, is it that an unhealthy diet leads to depression? Many researchers have pondered on these questions. Some of them analyzed a diet and then calculated the probability of developing depression. According to a report released by Harvard University, a Mediterranean diet leads to a lower risk of developing depression.

 

Foods that aggravate depression symptoms 

Some foods that aggravate depression symptoms are:

  • Caffeine
  • Sugar
  • Junk food
  • Alcohol
  • Drugs

 

Conclusion

When it comes to depression, most people think about the first-line of treatments like medication and psychotherapy. Those who do not respond to these traditional treatments usually opt for transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy to reduce depression symptoms.

Having a healthy diet along with medications or TMS therapy can help to make the treatment modes more effective. If you do not have faith in medications, you can try TMS therapy in your area. For example, if you live near King Harbor, you can try TMS therapy in Redondo Beach. The best part of TMS therapy is that it can help you avoid the side-effects of medication. TMS therapy is an FDA-approved medical treatment to manage various types of mental health disorders. It is painless therapy, and many insurance companies cover this.

But irrespective of where you live or the treatment method you adopt, follow the diet mentioned in this article to protect your mental health. Again, when you have chronic depression, you should always consult a psychiatrist. It is wrong to think that you can overcome depression by following a diet only. You need medications and therapies.

 

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31 COMMENTS

  1. I have seen so many articles recently touting the Mediterranean diet… and while we don’t eat meat or fish, I am glad we do include all the other beneficial items in our meals regularly

  2. People say I am the happiest person they have ever met and they ask me what my secret is – and I always say – MY DIET – because it’s so full of OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS and CLEAN foods!!!!

  3. I can definitely see how diet can affect depression. I need to work on foods with Vitamin D since I recently found out I am allergic to milk and eggs, which were my go-to foods for that.

  4. This is the post I’ve been looking for! I never knew there are proper diets for depression. I love food and just eat anything I want just to satisfy my feelings. After reading this, I realized it’s time to change. Thank you so much!

  5. being asian rice is are staple food….but I believe that rice has a big factor on our diet,,,,i drastically remove rice on my diet for 3 weeks and I loose an amazing 10kg,,,but I’m not planning to remove it totally,I will just limit the consumption of it

  6. I am so glad someone is writing about this. Certain foods can lead to depression. Sugar is not my friend. My body and thoughts will always let me know I’ve had too much in my body and it’s time to detox. Great article.

  7. It’s amazing how your diet can actually affect your mind. Thanks for this! I am definitely going to add some of these foods to my diet.

  8. I had no idea that there are foods that can help manage depression. This is actually good to know. Will make sure to have more fish, leafy veggies, and nuts in our diet. I love walnuts so this is perfect. 🙂

  9. These are some great tips to fight depression. Its very true that having proper food helps fight different problems of life, depression being one of it. And of course Vitamin D is essential for everyone but I didn’t know it affects our moods. Thanks for sharing.

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