- Mental Health
Foods That Fight Depression
What Is Depression
Depression is more than a case of feeling “down.” It is a combination of physical and emotional symptoms which interfere with your ability to function normally. Symptoms such as profound sadness, fatigue, sleeping too much or too little, loss of interest, aches and pains, thoughts of death or suicide may all be due to depression. Medications are available to help you fight depression, but unfortunately, you may have to take them for a very long time, or at least, until your doctor decides you can do without them. Eating the right foods can help you break your dependence on medication and improve the quality of your life.
Most people in the Western world have been reared on a diet of white bread, white potatoes, white sugar and other bleached products. These foods have a high glycemic index which release a lot of sugar into your bloodstream, spiking your blood sugar levels. This roller coaster effect can lead to feelings of depression. Experts say it’s much better to eat whole foods such as whole wheat bread and cereals, fresh fruit and vegetables. They not only provide fiber, but much-needed vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Meat And Fish
These foods contain protein, the building blocks of every cell, but they also contain Vitamin B 12 and folic acid (folate). These vitamins help prevent mood disorders and dementias. When you eat turkey, lean beef and chicken with the skin removed, you are providing the central nervous system with what it needs to fight off depression. Fish has long been called “brain food.” It is rich in selenium which fights depression, anxiety and fatigue. You should try to get at least 55 micrograms (mcg) of selenium a day. Omega 3 found in salmon, herring, trout, sardines and tuna tend to have a positive effect on depression, particularly postpartum depression.
Peas, Beans And Lentils
Apart from being a good source of second-class protein, they are also rich in folic acid and selenium. Think of that the next time you have a burrito or enchilada made with black beans, chicken, beef or pork. You could be fighting off depression. In addition, peas, beans and lentils, or legumes as they are called, are rich in fiber and calories and tend to fill you up pretty easily, so you don’t need to eat a lot. They can be made into delicious soups, or can be used with your salad.
Nuts And Seeds
Peanuts are a tasty, fun food, rich in selenium and folate. They may be eaten raw, roasted or boiled. However, they are high in calories because of the oil content, so try not to overeat. Almonds, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds and oat bran are also high in selenium.
There is more to this universal favorite than just the taste. One ounce of dark chocolate eaten daily increases brain levels of endorphins, the feel-good chemicals, which boost mood and stave off depression. In addition, chocolate helps to fight heart disease.
Try a little sunshine
Some people suffer from a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which produces symptoms similar to depression. This happens during the winter months when there is less sunshine. Research has found an association between low levels of Vitamin D in the body and SAD, along with PMS, and other mood disorders. Spending time in the sun helps the body synthesize Vitamin D, but it can also be obtained from foods such as fatty fish, beef liver, egg yolks, cheese, breakfast cereals and milk.
If you are suffering from depression, you may do well to examine what you are putting into your body. That does not mean that your diet is the only cause of your depression, but by limiting certain things such as alcohol, coffee and sugary foods, and increasing the intake of the foods named above, you can be on your way to feeling much better.