Nutrition and depression go hand-in-hand, which why it is oh-so-important to choose the right foods to keep us feeling happy and healthy. Here are a bunch of foods to kick depression symptoms to the curb.
Fruit & veggie goodness
Yes, we’ve heard it all before, but the truth is fruit and vegetables are jam-packed with vitamins and minerals, which are winners when it comes to fighting depression. So it’s time to stock up on apricots, peaches, pumpkins, carrots, sweet potato and spinach for some beta-carotene antioxidants to nip those free radicals in the bud, which put the brain at risk. We must not forget about good-old vitamin C either. Including blueberries, grapefruit, kiwi, oranges, strawberries, potatoes, peppers and tomatoes into your diet is a definite must.
Tomatoes are also full of folic acid and alpha-lipoic acid, which is just what your body needs to boost those feel-good hormones – such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Folic acid, in essence, is a warrior when it comes to regulating homocysteine, which can prevent your happy hormones from forming in the body.
Mushrooms are magic to your blood sugar levels, ensuring it is low and steady. This, in turn, means a stable mood and a healthy mentality. That’s not all. Mushrooms also act as a probiotic, keeping your gut full of good bacteria. It’s super important that your gut is happy, as it produces the majority of the body’s serotonin – which keeps us sane. It all comes down to maintaining a relationship with our gut and mind. So keep the conversation flowing between them!
Say hello to green leafy veggies (think spinach, kale and swiss chard) to sort out inflammation, which according to recent studies, is linked to severe depression.
The right way to carbo load
We can’t help it. We love carbs. We especially crave carbs when we are low in serotonin (feeling down and out).
Refined carbohydrates, such as white flour and sugar cause a spike in our glucose levels, which leads to irritability, mood swings and fatigue. Replace refined carbohydrates with good complex carbs, such as whole grains, vegetables and legumes; and natural sugars from fruit (bananas, apples etc). Whole grains are also an excellent source of selenium, which works wonders in keeping us happy (low selenium is a downer).
Lay on the protein
Including protein in all meals is essential for a clear mind and an extra burst of energy. Get your daily dosage of healthy protein, such as lean beef, poultry, seafood, beans, peas, soy products and low-fat dairy.
Chicken, turkey, and tuna are your best friends when it comes to fighting depression (says Robin H-C, a life coach, behaviourist, and author of “Thinking Your Way to Happy! “). This is because of their tryptophan content, which works wonders in stimulating serotonin production – all you need to get those feel-good chemicals and mental clarity.
Rich in calcium, vitamin D, folate (vitamin B12) and protein (peptides), low-fat dairy (skim milk, yogurt, low-fat-cheeses etc) are miracle workers when it comes to fighting depression, stimulating a sense of well-being and relaxation.
Seafood (oysters, clams, sardines, carb, saltwater, and freshwater fish) trawls in selenium for the body. The abundant supply of omega 3 is instrumental when it comes to fighting depression, due to its brain-boosting properties.
Nuts and seeds are extremely high in selenium (so we only need a few), vitamin E and rich in omega 3, supporting overall brain function.