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7 Sets of Depression-Busting Super Foods

Updated on September 29, 2012
Blueberry Quinoa
Blueberry Quinoa | Source
Brown Rice with Mackerel
Brown Rice with Mackerel | Source

Super Foods and Depression – a Simplified Relation

Super foods alone cannot haul you up from depression but when combined with medication, rest, exercise, and forms of ample social support, they become critical in delivering food nutrients that the brain needs to ward off depression.

Yes, super foods are a vital part of an overall treatment for depression, which is quite complex it cannot be instantly fixed with one simple solution like nutrition.

Still, super foods are essential in shooing blues away.

Consider this.

The brain needs certain kinds of nutrients to function properly.

If you lack these nutrients, then the brain can spiral to depression.

Note that super foods are more effective than other foods in delivering perk-me-up moods.

Many super foods have B Vitamins, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, Vitamin D, and zinc, which the brain really needs during times of depression.

Naturally, foods with substantial amounts of these nutrients are excellent foods for depression.

Thus, adding them to your diet can give you noticeable positive results in the long run.

So, instead of grabbing your comfort foods like cakes, ice creams, pizzas, and chips, you may want to just shop at your local grocer to get depression-busting foods.

How Lack of Super Foods Can Cause Depression

People who are depressed feel hopeless, unmotivated, fearful, rejected, uninspired, isolated, irritated, unaccepted, and unloved.

They find it difficult to decide on things precisely because they do not know or care where they are heading in life.

They continually feel like they want to end everything, including their lives.

Of course, these depressive symptoms are caused by one bad thing piled on top of other minor and/or major bad things like loss of job, break-ups, loss of a loved one, death of somebody special, divorce, crimes, and other forms of perceived failure.

In any case, depressive symptoms can become worse if people have the following:

  • Deficient Vitamin D or “sunshine vitamin” intake – Lack of Vitamin D has been directly linked to depression in numerous studies.
  • High blood sugar levels that can cause diabetes – Diabetes has been found to trigger anxiousness, fatigue, and loss of pleasure in doing otherwise enjoyable activities.
  • Inadequate chromium – Chromium helps improve blood sugar levels and the lack of it adversely affects blood sugar.
  • Insufficient amino acids – Amino acids help the neurotransmitters in the brain work properly.
  • Intolerance to foods – Certain kinds of foods trigger spells of feeling low.
  • Low levels of B Vitamins – B Vitamins, particularly Vitamin B12, have been shown to help patients respond to depression treatments.
  • Not enough omega-3 fatty acids – People with low intake of omega-3 fatty acids have been found to be prone to depression.

Smart Food Choices When Depressed – 7 Sets of Super Foods

1. Fishes

Super Foods:

albacore tuna, anchovies, herring, lake trout, mackerel, sardines, shad, and wild salmon

How They Help:

Fishes that thrive in cold water have been found to be loaded with omega-3 fatty acids or what have become popularly known as “brain foods.”

Omega-3 fatty acids make up the gray matter in parts of the brain that help control emotions –the amygdala, hippocampus, and the cingulated.

The less gray matter a person has in the brain, the more prone he or she is to depression.

Thus, loading up on foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can improve the gray matter in the brain and eventually pick up moods.

How to Best Enjoy These Super Foods:

Avoid the canned varieties that have potentially high mercury contents.

Grill or bake fishes. Steer from frying, which can add on unhealthy fats to the fishes.

Choose low-fat and low-sodium dips and seasonings for the fishes.

2. Whole Grains

Super Foods:

amaranth, buckwheat, brown rice, corn , hulled barley, kamut, millet, quinoa, spelt, teff, triticale, wild rice, whole rye, whole wheat berries, whole wheat bulgur, and whole cornmeal

How They Help:

Whole grains have been found to have calming effects and ease depressive symptoms because of their complex carbohydrates.

Unlike simple kinds of carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates do not raise blood sugar that sparks off mood swings, fatigue, and overeating.

Instead, they raise the amount of serotonin that helps people stay calm.

How to Best Enjoy These Super Foods:

Prepare whole grains as you would prepare rice and pastas.

Pour in healthy oils like olive oil or virgin coconut oil to the grains to add interesting flavors.

Fishes and vegetables go very well with whole grains.

3. Legumes and Nuts

Super Foods:

almonds, black beans, cashews, fermented soybeans, flaxseed, kidney beans, peanuts, pinto beans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and white beans

How They Help:

Legumes are packed with magnesium that helps improve the amount of serotonin in the brain.

Serotonin helps people stay calm by stopping them from indulging in foods and in an orgy of self-pity.

How to Best Enjoy These Super Foods:

Choose unsalted and unsweetened varieties when shopping for legumes.

Salt and sugar can trigger overeating spells and can, of course, make one unhealthy.

4. Green Tea

Super Foods:

freshly brewed green tea and its many varieties

How They Help:

Already full of antioxidants that help repair damages to the brain caused by free radicals, green tea is a depression-busting drink for its amino acid content called theanine or L-theanine.

Basically, theanine helps people stay focused while making them feel calm.

How to Best Enjoy These Super Foods:

Green tea leaves are best consumed fresh.

The leaves can be brewed for several times, making green tea an ideal drink not just for one person but also for family and friends.

5. Vegetables and Fruits

Super Foods:

green leafy vegetables, colorful vegetables, berries, orange, apricot, cantaloupe

How They Help:

Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants that fight free radicals.

These free radicals are responsible for stopping our body organs, including the brain, from doing its normal functions.

Good thing, vegetables and fruits are first-rate sources of antioxidants, including Vitamins A, C, and E.

They help limit the negative effects of free radicals to the brain, which suffers a lot during bouts of depression.

How to Best Enjoy These Super Foods:

Eat fruits and vegetables fresh.

Avoid eating preserved, man-processed, or altered fruits and vegetables that may contain harmful ingredients.

6. Lean Meat and Protein-Rich Foods

Super Foods:

lean beef, lean chicken, tuna, turkey, yogurt, milk, poultry

How They Help:

Foods rich in proteins have an amino acid called tyrosine that can help people stay focused and alert.

How to Best Enjoy These Super Foods:

Add in protein-rich foods several times in a day.

In you are vegetarian, try plant-based sources of protein like tofu, natto, and miso.

7. Seafoods

Super Foods:

clams, crabs, oysters, sardines, as well as saltwater and freshwater fishes

How They Help:

Seafoods have the mineral selenium that has been found to make moods stable.

While selenium can be poisonous when taken in excessive dosage, it is more likely that selenium supplements – not natural sources of selenium – would be toxic.

How to Best Enjoy These Super Foods:

Eat a serving or two of seafoods at least twice a week.

Copyright © 2012 Kerlyn Bautista

All Rights Reserved

Foods for the Blues


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    • Richycholmes profile image


      7 years ago from Moseley, Birmingham, England

      I have found that cutting out anything that as a lot of e numbers in also helps. Additionally anything that can give you a short energy burst is going to have the side effect of a sharp coe down after wards.

      I think it is important to recognise the role that diet can have on your mood. It is also important to recognise that sometimes there are root problems.

      I used to skip breakfast for instance but now I realise the importance it plays with my blood suger level and that need to get me going first thing in the morning.

    • mattdigiulio profile image


      7 years ago

      Awesome. I needed something like this to uplift my day. Thanks! Voting up.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Very good hub. The mind, body, emotion, spirit connection is such an intriguing concept and it seems it is being proven true over and over again. Thanks for this very informative article. Voted up and useful.

    • algarveview profile image

      Joana e Bruno 

      7 years ago from Algarve, Portugal

      Hello, Kerlynb, great hub, with lots of information and very interesting. It makes perfect sense that food has the ingredients to help us get better and it's great to know which kinds of food can help. This is a very important subject and this hub can help a lot of people. Voted up, useful and interesting and thanks for SHARING. Have a great day!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      7 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for these well-presented facts. I appreciate the subsections of they help and how best to enjoy them. Makes me think you would do well on a Dr. Oz show. I presume that the fish section refers only to fresh-water fish, or it would be included under seafood. Voted useful!

    • Global-Chica profile image


      7 years ago from New York, NY

      This is a very informative hub! My boyfriend is vegetarian so I'm always worried that he's not getting enough nutrients. I make a lot of seitan, tofu, and sometimes tempeh but never heard of natto. Thanks so much for mentioning it and now I have another option for getting the necessary protein. Voted up and useful!

    • bmukherjii profile image


      7 years ago

      It must be lack of gray matter in my brain that causes me to suffer from so much anger and depression. :(


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