The food we take in has a direct impact on each of our body organs including the mind. Some foods have an alarming impact while some are calming in nature. Depression is a complex mood disorder that makes one uncomfortable and empty. People with severe depression issues feel lonely, stressed and even suicidal at times. Though it is a medical health problem that must be dealt with medication and counseling at the earliest, one must also be aware of the effect of food and eating habits on the persisting condition.
Some super healthy foods help greatly in reducing the inflammation of brain nerves and coping depression.
Foods that Aid Depression
Refined Carbohydrates and Sugar: A diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates increase blood sugar level and inflammation in the body and brain that result in higher incidences of depression.
Artificial Sweeteners reduce serotonin levels, "the happy hormone" in the brain and cause depression. Aspartame, an artificial sweetener significantly affects the condition of depression.
Trans-Fats: Consuming baked goods like cookies, cakes, pie, crackers which mostly contain trans-fats increases the risk of depression by 50%.
Processed Foods: The high amount of sodium, sugars and fats used as preservatives in processed foods to keep them away from spoilage are harmful to the body.
Nutrients that Help Manage Depression
Omega-3 Fats: Omega-3 fatty acids are the good fats which improve brain functioning and help manage depression. Fish, nuts, flaxseed oil and green leafy vegetables are good sources of omega-3's.
Vitamin-D: Deficient levels of vitamin D in the body lead to depression related symptoms. Although sunlight is the best source of vitamin D, you can get it from foods like fish, tofu and milk.
Selenium: Selenium is an important element in decreasing symptoms of depression. Selenium-rich foods like nuts, beans and whole grains should be included in the diet.
Fruits that Help Reduce Depression
Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries are some of the most antioxidant rich foods that protect against free radical damage of DNA. They prevent oxidative damage of cells and repair damaged cells to be protected against inflammation and cancer. Also, they improve the cognitive health of brain making it sharper. Berries are also rich in vitamin C that helps in combating stress along with lowering blood pressure and maintaining cortisol levels.
Replace a mixed berry yogurt with ice cream in your diet regularly to lead a stress-free healthy life.
Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats in the form of oleic acids, proteins and vitamins K, C, E and B complex. Such combination of fruitful nutrients helps combat depression and its effects. The healthy monounsaturated fats make brain function smoother and proteins help in reducing inflammation.
Green leafy vegetables contain all the vital nutrients in perfect proportions. They are one of the most powerful and healthy foods. Dark leafy greens are rich in minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals that boost immunity and fight chronic diseases. The leafy family includes spinach, Swiss chard, kale and broccoli. These magnesium dense veggies reduce inflammation, a primary cause of depression, to produce a calming effect on mind reducing agitation and improving sleep.
Leafy vegetables are a must to include in the diet to keep you free from stress and anxiety.
Walnuts are rightly known as the brain food. The alpha-linolenic acids, essential omega-3 fatty acids, and high amount of polyphenols present in walnuts are proven to improve cognition and prevent memory loss. Some studies have even shown reversed signs of brain aging when walnuts were regularly included in the diet.
Add some toasted walnuts to your salad, or eat a mixed nut snack to savor your taste buds and ward off depression.
Onions along with garlic are not directly mood benefiting foods, but they have a positive effect on improving brain health. Antioxidants like flavonoids present in onions are anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous, preventing mood disabilities. A mixed leafy veggie salad with some onion springs to top is a perfect start of your day with a good mood.
The chemical properties of mushroom oppose insulin, which helps lower the blood sugar, thus making mood light. They also promote healthy bacterial growth that helps in manufacturing 90% of serotonin.
Tomatoes contain folic acid and alpha-lipoic acid that are good for fighting depression. Around one-third of patients with depression show an exponential decline in folate. Folic acid helps in reducing the excess of homocysteine resulting in more production of neuro-transmitters like serotonin and dopamine. Alpha lipoic-acid is a mood booster that converts body glucose into energy preventing mood swings.
Flaxseed, hemp seeds and chia seeds are good for mood because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and selenium. Seeds are a healthy snacking advice by most dietitians that not only fight against diseases, but also increase the absorption of health benefiting nutrients into the body that improve overall health. Omega-3 fatty acids are a proven mood uplifting and brain healthy elements that help fighting depression.
Dairy and Soy Products
A diet rich in dairy products like milk, cheese, butter and curd is a wholesome package for your good health. They are highly abundant in proteins and vitamin D that support mental well-being. Healthy proteins in dairy products and soy foods increase the production of tryptophan that in turn increases serotonin levels helping mood regulation. These protein-rich foods improve alertness of mind and reduce inflammation.
Including a portion of dairy, tofu or other soy products in your daily diet fares well with depression and stress.
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