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Foods That Fight Depression

Updated on May 23, 2010

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.

High-fiber Diets

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.

This fish meal can help fight off your depression
This fish meal can help fight off your depression
Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants
Fruits and vegetables are rich in 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.

Chocolate

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.

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    • quildon profile image
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      Angela Joseph 4 years ago from Florida

      Thanks, Faith Reaper

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Very informative hub here as to the foods that help to fight depression, and I am so glad chocolate made it to the list!!!

      Voted up +++ and sharing

      Blessings, Faith Reaper

    • Appsthatpayyou profile image

      Appsthatpayyou 4 years ago from London

      Hi Angela

      A really great hub, especially the chocolate bit! Rated up and shared.

    • quildon profile image
      Author

      Angela Joseph 5 years ago from Florida

      @ishwaryaa22 Thanks for your comments. It's good to know you enjoy healthy foods. Keep it up.

      @mattdigiulio Thank you!

    • mattdigiulio profile image

      mattdigiulio 5 years ago

      Great Hub, very helpful. Thank you, Matt

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 5 years ago from Chennai, India

      Very informative hub on food that help in fighting off depression. Fortunately, I enjoy eating fish, lean meat, cereals, vegetables, nuts and of course chocolate! Thank you for writing this good hub. Rated it useful. Vote up.

    • quildon profile image
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      Angela Joseph 6 years ago from Florida

      @Happyboomernurse Thank you.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Well written and informative article. Some people may still require medication for severe depression but many respond well to lifestyle changes such as the ones you've mentioned here and by increasing the amount of exercise that they get.

      Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • quildon profile image
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      Angela Joseph 6 years ago from Florida

      Hi anon, Just yesterday I attended a seminar on how nutrients affect the brain and mental health and the speaker mentioned chocolate as one of the foods he would recommend for fighting depression. Another thing about chocolate that I have found is that even though it contains caffeine, when I drink a cup of hot chocolate before bedtime I sleep well, but if I drink coffee I'm up all night. I wish I knew the answer to that.

    • profile image

      anon 6 years ago

      I love ths hub, but CHOCOLATE has THEROBROMINE IN IT...it is a NEUROTOXIN..it is not healthy. Though Chocolate is loaded with anti-oxidants is not that healthy for your brain and it has caffeine...oh , well, once in awhile is probably not bad for you...KALE is a happy food and fish.

    • quildon profile image
      Author

      Angela Joseph 6 years ago from Florida

      @MonetterforJack Thanks for your encouraging comments. I'm going to check out your hub.

      @elija_god Yes, what we put into our bodies does influence the way we look and feel.

    • elija_god profile image

      elija_god 6 years ago from Abuja, Nigeria

      Wonderfully hub,Wow so food can Fight Depression

      Thank for the Info Quildon!

    • MonetteforJack profile image

      MonetteforJack 6 years ago from Tuckerton, NJ

      Hi, Quildon! I voted up and useful. Your hub is well-written and the pictures are truly engaging to look at. I have written a hub and I used the link karma hub. I hope you don't mind. I enjoyed reading this hub. Thanks!

    • quildon profile image
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      Angela Joseph 6 years ago from Florida

      Hi natural, Thanks for stopping by. I'm sorry to hear that you went back to your old ways of eating, but don't let that discourage you. It's hard to get back to where you were in 2009, but with hard work and determination you can do it. Ask God for courage and don't give up!

    • profile image

      natural 6 years ago

      I've been diagnosed with depression... It is tough! I mean I can't really explain it other than 'ouch' inside and out. I had a downward spiral before and then I overhauled my foods - not knowing I was fighting depression - I just wanted to eat better and I believe in a holistic approach so I kept this going (food) and I felt better and 2009 was the best year of my life to date (about 3 years after downward spiral and about 1.5 yrs of eating whole foods) well over time I stopped eating healthy (I went back to work and didn't prioritize myself) and I asked myself what in the world changed? And low and behold I my diet! I hadn't eaten at McDonalds in YEARS now I was and most other chains. I feel like I am back at square 1 actually -1 lol because its like this time around I kind of crashed or spiraled harder. It is really rough getting back up - but I am prayerful and determined. God speed and to all who are hurting with this illness / disease, I am so sorry but I pray you find or uncover your bliss even in this as I pray that for myself.

    • quildon profile image
      Author

      Angela Joseph 6 years ago from Florida

      Thanks, KoffeeKlatch

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I love your tips and advice on foods for depression. Great job.

    • quildon profile image
      Author

      Angela Joseph 6 years ago from Florida

      I'm sorry you're not feeling well. Depression is such a horrible thing. It takes over your mind AND your body. I do hope you feel better.

    • profile image

      suetaurus 6 years ago

      going to try your healthy eating plan dont want to go on prescribed antidepressants! feeling at my lowest right now what a horribble feeling .....ill be back to tell you if its working for me...fingers crossed!!:-)

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from California

      I like the part about eating chocolate! I especially love the dark chocolate and I will be enjoying every bite of fighting depression! I need all the help I can get. Thanks Quildon :-)

    • profile image

      Multiman 6 years ago

      Great article on the foods

    • quildon profile image
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      Angela Joseph 6 years ago from Florida

      Good for you janesix. I would like to hear what results you get from it.

    • janesix profile image

      janesix 6 years ago

      I'm trying fish oil, I hope it works eventually

    • Jewels profile image

      Jewels 7 years ago from Australia

      Great hub quildon. I've overhauled my diet in the last 5 months and I feel very good. I've stopped eating all processed foods and am balancing my proteins and low carbs really well. As was commented by fastfreta, depression can be cured by eating the right food - it's very true.

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 7 years ago from Southern California

      Quildon, this is a very helpful article, not to mention very well written. This caught my attention, because you mentioned using food rather than medicine to fight depression. I'm all about natural cures, and your hub filled the bill. Great research, great hub, loved it.

    • profile image

      quildon 7 years ago

      Thanks, habee

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      This great, useful info!

    • quildon profile image
      Author

      Angela Joseph 7 years ago from Florida

      Thanks FGual

    • dawnM profile image

      Dawn Michael 7 years ago from THOUSAND OAKS

      great information, good flow, I liked all of the positive things that can be done when eating healthy.

    • FGual profile image

      FGual 7 years ago from USA

      Great hub full of good food and good advice