Diet and nutrition play a big role in our mental health and any depression treatment plan should include a better diet, rich in depression fighting foods.
In fact, a study found that people could even achieve total remission from their depression symptoms simply by changing their diet. For a lot of those who didn’t achieve total remission, a significant reduction in symptoms was able to be achieved.
Anything that can improve depression without the use of drugs or invasive treatments is well worth trying in my opinion. So here are 12 foods (in no particular order) to help fight depression and 7 foods you should avoid.
Walnuts are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, protein and monounsaturated fats. Omega 3 fatty acids are great for depression and overall brain health.
Avocados are a delicious treat that are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium and potassium. They are also low in sugar and high in dietary fiber, so they are not just great for the brain, they are great for the heart and our overall health too.
Dark leafy green vegetables
Spinach, kale and brussel sprouts are some of the best vegetables for depression. They are packed with brain boosting omega 3’s, as well as being a great source of fiber and folate.
Jam packed with antioxidants which are great for reducing depression, blueberries easily make our list of the top depression fighting foods. They are also great for lowering blood pressure, improving heart health and lowering your cholesterol. Blueberries also contain vitamin C, which helps to reduce the impact of stress.
Research has shown that those who eat more raw fruits and vegetables have fewer symptoms of depression than those who ate processed fruits and vegetables. Apples were on the list of their top 10 raw fruits and vegetables.
Seeds are a great source of B vitamins which are great for mental health. Flaxseed and chia seeds are also full of omega 3 fats. Trytophan is an amino acid found in pumpkin seeds and also squash seeds. Trytophan is very helpful with creating serotonin, which is a chemical that helps with happiness and wellbeing.
Green beans are packed full of fiber as well as protein and they help to maintain our blood sugar levels. Maintaining blood sugar levels helps to avoid dips and spikes, which translates directly into avoiding dips and spikes in our mood. Beans are also a fantastic source of folate.
I keep mentioning omega 3 fats, and that’s because they are so important to good mental health. Oily fish such as sardines, tuna trout and mackeral are great sources of this. Studies have been done which showed that people who consumed more fish than others were far less likely to suffer from depression and other mental health issues.
As with pumpkin and squash seeds, turkey and chicken are a fantastic source of trytophan which helps the body to create serotonin.
Mushrooms are also a good mood food. They can help lower blood sugar levels, which acts like a mood stabilizer. They are also good for overall gut health which assists with serotonin creation in our bodies.
Although tea is not a food it has still made it on to our list of the 12 best foods for depression. It is widely known that green tea is a rich source of antioxidants. Green tea also contains something called theanine which is an amino acid that has a relaxing effect, making it great for reducing anxiety as well as improving overall mental wellbeing.
Rounding out the list of foods to fight depression is the reliable banana. Containing depression fighting properties like vitamin B6 and fiber, bananas also contain potassium and vitamin C which is good for your overall health.
7 Foods To Avoid For Depression
Containing approximately zero nutritional value and alarmingly high levels of sugar, there is no value to drinking soft drinks either for your mental health or for your general health. Or your teeth!
While it is a better alternative to soft drink as it does have some nutritional value, fruit juice still contains a high amount of sugar. If you want the nutrition of fruit, then eat whole fruits like apples and bananas. If you want a drink, water is a better alternative.
Caffeine can hype you up, and subsequently cause you to crash when it wears off. This is not great for anxiety or depression. It can also wreak havoc on your sleeping patterns, which are essential to good mental health. Try to reduce your coffee intake or substitute coffee with green tea.
The first actual food on our list of foods to avoid, as all of the others were drinks. White bread turns to blood sugar soon after you eat it. That can cause spikes and dips in your mood which is not good for trying to maintain stable mental health. A better alternative to white bread is whole grain bread.
Although drinking in moderation is ok, alcohol can mess up your sleeping routines, which has a negative impact on your mental health. If you are taking medication for your depression or mental illness then you may be advised to avoid alcohol entirely.
It’s not uncommon for depression sufferers to turn to alcohol as a means of escaping their negative feelings. Unfortunately, while you may feel temporarily improved, alcohol is only going to make your problems worse.
The sugar is absorbed straight into your blood, which will give you an initial boost of energy, but a dip in energy follows that surge. This will only leave you feeling worse, so try to avoid sugary foods and instead choose foods from the list of foods that are good for depression.
Fried foods, processed meat, canned meat and some dairy products all fall into the category of processed foods. These foods are not good for anxiety and depression, so should be avoided where possible and replaced with good foods from the above list.
Diet should form one important part of your fight against depression. Exercise, sleep and psychotherapy are all important too. If you want a read about a simple 7 step plan that will help you to fight off depression, then click here