Can You Eat To Beat Depression?

Depression is one of the leading causes of disability the worldover. Health specialists either consider it a primarily psychological issue, treating it with counselling or see depression as a biochemical phenomenon, best dealt with medication. Another aspect, quite often overlooked, could be the route of the onset, and so a way to treat the problem is nutrition. Is it just coincidence that there has been a significant decline in fruit, vegetable (B vitamins, folic acid) and fish intake (essential fats) by people, especially teenagers today and a whooping increase in sugar and processed foods? Also, if depression is a biochemical imbalance, giving the brain the nutrient precursors to neurotransmitters like serotonin, can normalise its own biochemistry. This is surely an approach worth trying.

Research has shown that common nutritional imbalances worsen your mood, concentration and motivation. These are:

  • Blood sugar imbalances – mostly associated with excessive sugar and stimulants like coffee, tea and energy drinks
  • Deficiencies in B vitamins in particularly B6, B12 and folate
  • A lack of Omega 3 essential fats
  • Low serotonin levels because of a lack in amino acids such as tryptophan and tyrosine
  • Deficiencies in Vitamin D, selenium and chromium
  • Food allergies and intolerances that may also be making you feel sad.

There is enough evidence to support that optimum nutrition for depressed patients can be highly effective alongside lifestyle changes that encourage outdoor activity, exercise and stress- reducing activities (meditation, yoga, hobbies). Key dietary factors must reduce or eliminate sugar in all forms, stimulants like caffeine, smoking and alcohol. Increase fruit and vegetables to 8-10 servings (including at least 2 servings of dark leafy greens). Eat oily fish like salmon, mackerel, fresh tuna, herring, trout and sardines. Eat good quality protein like grass-fed and pastured meat and poultry and dairy, organic eggs, beans and lentils. A clear link between inflammation and mental disturbances such as depression also shows the importance of including as many anti-inflammatory foods as possible, again green leafy vegetables like kale, chard and spinach, sea vegetables, oily fish, flaxseed oil, hemp oil and seeds (pumpkin, sunflower etc) top the list of foods to include.

Try out some of our top good- mood food recipes to help balance your blood sugars and give you a much-needed nutrient injection!

Comments are closed.