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Your Nutrient Tool Kit for Depression

Updated on June 6, 2019
LiveBetterHealth Michelle profile image

Michelle is passionate about seeing how making small changes in people's diet and lifestyle can make a huge improvement to their health.

What is depression?

Do you often suffer from low mood, have no energy, sleep issues, feel agitated, restless, guilty, have low self-esteem, gut disturbances, gain little pleasure out of life and/or suicidal thoughts? You may have depression.

Individuals could be experiencing the same symptoms of depression but what is going on inside them is very different.

Depression is a very complex condition, it’s not always as simple as merely a shortage of certain brain chemicals (serotonin & dopamine, commonly associated with depression) but can be a result of, or an accumulation of:

  • genetics

  • chronic conditions

  • medications

  • stress

  • imbalanced hormones, gut bacteria &/or nutrient levels

  • life trauma

  • toxic environment

  • bad lifestyle habits

  • mood dysregulation

  • inflammation

Several of these can manifest together to bring about depression.

Nutrient Toolkit

Regardless of what brought about your depression and which factors are working together to keep you in that state, there will be a degree to which healthy eating can help.

Below is a nutrient toolkit which you can use to support you with your struggle. Remember that it is important to know your body and what works for you. Try the different food combinations and see how your body responds, to come up with the best possible nutrient combination for yourself. It is also important to combine the below with regular exercise and sufficient filtered water intake.

  • Iron – beef, chicken liver, oysters, mussels, spinach, red kidney beans, chickpeas

  • Omega-3 fatty acids – oily fish, walnuts, ground flaxseeds

  • Magnesium – pumpkin, sesame seeds, Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, pine nuts, dark chocolate

  • Potassium – salmon, mackerel, spinach, apricots, peaches, prunes, spinach

  • Selenium – brazil nuts, oysters, tuna, mussels, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds

  • Vitamin A – spinach, sweet potato, carrots, kale, romaine lettuce, tuna

  • Thiamine (vitamin B1) – flaxseeds, sunflowers seeds, macadamia nuts, pork, salmon

  • Niacin (vitamin B3) – tuna, lamb liver, peanuts, white mushrooms, sunflower seeds

  • Pyridoxine (vitamin B6) – sunflower seeds, pistachio nuts, tuna, salmon, turkey

  • Folate (vitamin B9) – beef liver, black eyed peas, mung beans, lentils, chickpeas, spinach

  • Vitamin B12 – mussels, beef liver, oysters, fortified foods

  • Vitamin C – guava, peppers, kale, kiwis, oranges, broccoli, cauliflower

  • Zinc – oysters, dark chocolate, beef, lamb, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds

Supplementation with any of these nutrients is not recommended without consulting a health care practitioner.

The bottom line

Meat eaters try to eat more oysters, mussels and/or organ meats and vegetarians/vegans add more leafy greens, lettuces, peppers, and cruciferous vegetables into your diet

Side note: Psychological trauma

It can be very difficult to think about eating when your body is stressed following trauma. Your body will also not be focused on digestion, it will be in the fight or flight mode. However, it is critical at this time to keep your nutrient levels up as these have a massive impact on mood. During this time, try and consume foods that are easy to digest and full of nutrients, such as vegetable soups/smoothies. You could also try meditation and yoga to lower cortisol levels so that the body can focus on digestion.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


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