5 Amazing Foods For Depression and Better Health

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The foods for depression are mainly foods that contribute to brain function and serotonin production. Here are the amazing ways to improve your depression with diet!

1. Oily Fish – Mackerel and Salmon

Some researchers have found that Omega-3 oils – mainly found in mackerel and salmon may help with depression. Omega-3 contribute to brain development and have been shown to reduce inflammation. 

Aim for 1-2 portions of oily fish a week. Oily fish include salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards and trout which are great foods for depression. You may also consider supplementing Omega-3 if you wish to.

2. Olive Oil, Rapeseed Oil, Nuts, Seeds, Avocados (The Mono-unsaturated Fats/Good fats)

Our brain is around 50% fat. So providing fats can really improve our brain function. But it is important to fuel your brain with the right kind of fats. Mono-unsaturated fats are the best fat sources to improve brain function whilst trans fats – found in cakes, processed meats, pre-packed cakes, and biscuits seem to be harmful in excess to brain function. 

You may also add oil, nuts, and seeds to salads to add extra sources of brain-healthy fats.

3. Wholegrains, and fruits & Vegetables

Wholegrain cereals, peas, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables are great foods for depression and rich in a range of vitamins and minerals to assist brain function. Wholegrain varieties of food such as wholegrain bread, pasta, rice, cereals and the like digest slowly, providing a steady release of glucose to support your energy levels.

The foods also contain lots of B vitamins which have been shown to be important in managing depression.

Wholegrains, fruits, and vegetables contain fibre, which are beneficial to improving our gut microbiome. There is some research that having a healthy gut microbiome may improve depression symptoms. 

4. Water and other fluids

Ok so this is not exactly one of the ‘foods for depression’ but even just a slight dehydration can affect your mood! A healthy brain is around 78% water! Aim to have 6-8 glasses of water or roughly 1.5 to 2 Litres of fluid daily. 

Caffeine can affect your mood as these can lead to withdrawal headaches when the caffeine wears off leading us to be a bit irritable and moody. Caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, cola, energy drinks, tea and chocolate, should be limited. Other non-caffeinated drinks, such as fruit squash, lemonade or herbal teas are good alternatives.  

Drinking too much alcohol can lead to dehydration and can lead to B vitamin deficiencies. B vitamins are the vitamins mainly responsible for energy levels and may lead you to be more anxious. It is important to note that alcohol is an anti-depressant and may contribute to your depression or may your depression symptoms worse so it is better to limit your intake as much as you can or stop alcohol altogether.

5. Include Protein in every meal

Protein contains tryptophan and research suggests that this may help with depression

Good sources include fish, poultry, eggs and game, but some green leafy vegetables (such as spinach) and seeds are also a source.

Eating protein as part of a ‘little and often’ eating plan can also help prevent overeating.

Summary – Foods for depression

Whilst there are a few foods for depression, what is important is the whole diet. Aim to eat regularly throughout the day with meals that include lots of wholegrains (wholegrain rice, bread, pasta…), fruits and vegetables which contribute to regular energy release and B vitamins which assist with energy release to the brain,

Aim to consume a good amount of healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil or rapeseed oil by adding these to your meals. You may drizzle oil over your meals and salads or sprinkle nuts and seeds to them!

Drink plenty of fluids! Our brains consist of mainly 78% water so slight dehydration may lead to decreased performance! So hydrate the best you can!

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