When you're feeling anxious, mentally exhausted or depressed, it's hard to make sense of how there's food that can help with depression. We tend to dissociate how our mind and heart is feeling from any connection with food but the fact is, they are very much connected and impact each other.
Yes, mental health is complicated and a dietary change is not the only thing that can help improve it, but the little things you change about your everyday life can boost your mood and help push you towards a healthier mind and body.
Dr. Shawn Talbott, a nutritional biochemist told Everyday Health: "If we eat better foods like lean proteins, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and fish, we short-circuit the junk food cravings and have higher energy levels and sharper mental focus."
The food below contains factors that can help reduce inflammation in the brain induce serotonin (chemical that contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness)
Salmon, tuna and mackerel are great fatty fish that have omega-3 fats which are great for boosting serotonin. Zinc has been also found to be related to enhanced moods and it is found in oysters, mussels and clams. So having some seafood can help fight depression.
2. Seeds & Nuts
Nuts are also recommended for depression. Walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds also contain omega-3 fatty acids. Oatmeal and almonds, whole grains, whole wheat pasta and brown rice can help the body release serotonin.
3. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate helps to release serotonin as cocoa beans contain flavonoids, plant-based nutrients that are powerful antioxidants. So yes chocolate can actually improve your mood.
4. Orange Veggies & Tryptophan
Carrots, pumpkin, squash and sweet potatoes have orange hue from the antioxidant carotenoid, which is good for helping with depression. Tryptophan is an amino acid in turkey, pumpkin and squash seeds which the body uses to produce serotonin.
5. Dairy & Healthy Fats
Low fat dairy products contain vitamin D, calcium and proteins which can help relax you and enhance the feeling of well being. Egg yolks and olive oil contains healthy fats. 3 tablespoons a day of olive oil can decrease feelings of anxiety and depression.
6. Fresh Produce
Greens and dark greens like kale, spinach help calm inflammation. Veggies are full of folate, a vitamin that is linked to depressive symptoms. Tomatoes also contain lots of folate, mushrooms can also help with depression. Beans also have folate and can help maintain the blood sugar which can affect your mood.
Green tea, apples and berries have antioxidants. According to studies, people treated with antioxidants have less depression.
Main Image Credits: Lesley Unruh