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8 Depression Fighting Foods that Boost Energy and Mood

Updated on February 11, 2019
Suzette-Annan profile image

Suzette Annan is freelance health writer and certified personal trainer with years of experience working in mental health.

We all know that we need to eat well and exercise for the sake of our health. If you struggle with depression this is even more important. What you eat affects your mood, so choosing the right foods can be the difference between a good day and a miserable one. If your depression has got you feeling lethargic and lacking in energy, the following foods could help give you the boost that you need.

A couple of bananas a day could keep the psychologists away
A couple of bananas a day could keep the psychologists away | Source

Oats

Oats are one of the fifteen super foods. They have a huge amount of soluble fibre which allows their sugar content to be released slowly into the bloodstream. Foods that release energy slowly have a low glycaemic index (GI), which keep you full and energised for longer. Foods with a high GI on the other hand will give you a quick sugar rush followed by an energy crash, (nobody wants that, especially while depressed). Having porridge for breakfast can reduce lethargy keeping you more alert throughout the day.


Oily Fish

It might surprise you that 7 out 10 adults don't eat any fish at all, and are therefore missing out on some essential depression busting nutrients. Nutritionists recommend eating oily fish two to four times a week to reap the health benefits.


Salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel and trout contain essential omega-3 fatty acids that are crucial for brain health. Our brains are 60% fat, and omega-3 is a key component in building quality brain-cell membranes.


Poor brain-cell membranes equal poor brain cellular health, which impacts your brain’s ability to regulate mood and keep you on an even keel. Who knew that grilling yourself a salmon fillet a few times a week could make you feel more stable?

Blueberries

Blueberries are full of antioxidants which help to neutralise free radicals. Free radicals are toxic molecules that wreak havoc on healthy cells and tissue through oxidative stress.

Several studies have linked oxidative stress to major depression.
Snacking on blueberries can keep those horrible free radicals at bay protecting you from depression symptoms, as well other horrible diseases like cancer, diabetes and dementia.

7 out of 10 adults eat no fish whatsoever.


Avocados

Avocados are known for their wealth of health benefits. This super fruit is rich in vitamins A, B, E and K. It's their high content of B vitamins that is most helpful in fighting depression symptoms.


B vitamins have been proven to not only boost energy and support our metabolism, but regulate those all important neurotransmitters that control mood. A boost of energy and a lifted mood is exactly what's needed when going through depression.


Bananas

Bananas are great; they taste good, they’re a convenient snack and very good for your mood. They contain the essential amino acid tryptophan that is converted into serotonin. You probably already know that serotonin is a vital neurotransmitter for mood regulation.


Researchers believe that people with depression do not produce enough serotonin, which is why the antidepressants selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) increase serotonin levels in the brain. Eating more bananas could give you a natural boost to your mood.


Leafy greens

Leafy greens such as spinach, kale and collard greens have a high magnesium content, which is an essential dietary mineral. We are eating much less than our ancestors, and magnesium deficiencies are now very common in adults.


Magnesium has been called “nature’s Valium” for its ability to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress. It does this by suppressing the hippocampus’ release of stress hormones like cortisol.

Brazil Nuts


These tasty nuts contain a generous amount of the essential mineral selenium. Selenium is an antioxidant that protects the body against oxidative stress.

Just one brazil nut contains twice the recommended daily allowance of selenium, so you don't need to eat many to get their benefit.


Studies have linked low levels of Selenium to low mood. Selenium is also a key component in healthy thyroid function. Depression and lethargy are common symptoms of an under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism).


Chocolate

This one is a bit of an odd one out as everything else on the list is healthy plant-based and natural. The truth is we all crave a bit of chocolate when we're feeling down because it's comforting.


I'm not suggesting that you go all out and binge on the heavenly brown stuff. The high sugar content will give you an insulin spike followed by a huge energy crash, and that's the last thing you need when your mood us low. It is wiser to enjoy it in moderation, opting for dark chocolate that contains antioxidants.

Adding these foods to your diet could help give you a natural boost. What do you eat when you're depressed? Comment below.

Full of antioxidants
Full of antioxidants | Source



Sources
Pratt, S Katy,M Superfoods Fourteen Foods that will change your life, A Bantam Books 2006
http://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com/2010/10/magnesium-and-brain.html?m=1
https://bebrainfit.com/magnesium-anxiety-stress/#the-top-food-sources-of-magnesium
https://examine.com/supplements/magnesium/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1873372
http://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/food/article/brazil-nuts-super-source-selenium
https://www.wcrf.org/informed/articles/two-thirds-us-are-not-eating-enough-fish

Try not to binge on it.
Try not to binge on it. | Source

© 2019 Suzette-Annan

Comments

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    • George Coull profile image

      George Coull 

      14 months ago from Bedford - United Kingdom

      I have suffered for 20 years and I knew of some of the super foods but you opened my eyes to some others so thank you for that and very well written.

      https://www.georgecoullpaintinganddecorating.co.uk

    • Ellison Hartley profile image

      Ellison Hartley 

      14 months ago from Maryland, USA

      Absolutely, I agree!

    • Suzette-Annan profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette-Annan 

      14 months ago

      Thank you for kind comment Ellison.

      It's the little things we do everyday that make a difference.

    • Suzette-Annan profile imageAUTHOR

      Suzette-Annan 

      14 months ago

      Hey Poppy.

      Thank you for your lovely comment.

      Yep, it seems like leafy greens have a bit of everything that's why they're a superfood. I throw some spinach leaves into my smoothies in the morning to get my serving for the day.

    • poppyr profile image

      Poppy 

      14 months ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Leafy greens seem to be essential whatever nutrient you're lacking; they're recommended for pregnant women and for people trying to boost their iron intake as well. I never thought about the possibility that we eat less than our ancestors, but it makes sense.

      Glad to hear I should be eating more salmon! Love that stuff. Blueberries and brazil nuts make for healthy and happy snacks as well. Thank you for sharing this information.

    • Ellison Hartley profile image

      Ellison Hartley 

      14 months ago from Maryland, USA

      This is a great article. Sometimes I think we forget the simple things we can do to help our wellbeing even the easiest things like eating certain foods.

    • profile image

      Suzette 

      14 months ago

      Hi Jamie. Thank you for reading. Yeah they're great. They also contain a lot of Pottasium which is another mood boosting mineral :)

    • Thou Shalt Not Ill profile image

      Jamie 

      14 months ago from East Coast

      Thank you for this!! I was really surprised about bananas. I eat them often, but I never knew that they were a food that could help with depression.

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