An Expert Reveals 6 Foods That Can Help You Beat Depression

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  • 03 Apr 2024
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No particular diet has been shown to be effective in treating depression, despite several attempts. Rather than depending on a single meal or vitamin to alleviate your depression symptoms, try incorporating a variety of healthy foods that are beneficial to fighting sadness. 

You can add a new food once or twice a week, and before long, you'll have a well-balanced diet that improves your mood. 

The good news is that the foods and nutrients listed below offer more than merely antidepressant properties. They are nutrient-dense and high in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, which will help you maintain a balanced diet and feel better and happier in a variety of ways.


6 Healthy Foods That Are Good For Beating Depression

Here are six healthy foods that will help you beat depression according to an expert.


1. Probiotic Foods

Gut health is becoming a popular topic in the health community. This is due to the presence of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which play an important role in sustaining physical and mental health.

Probiotics function by replenishing the beneficial gut microorganisms. When ingested as a diet or supplement, they contribute to the body's sensation of calm and the reduction of depressive symptoms.

How does this work? Great question.

The gut is lined with neurons, which help regulate mood. These neurons create serotonin, a chemical associated with mood. As a result, maintaining a healthy gut lining through probiotic-rich meals can be an effective tool in your arsenal for treating depression symptoms. 

While probiotic supplements can surely help with this process, probiotic meals are also beneficial because they provide additional nutrients. Fermented foods, such as miso, kimchi, certain yogurt, sauerkraut, and tempeh, contain the most probiotics.


2. Vitamin D Fortified Foods

This category of foods has been linked to improved depression symptoms, particularly in people who are vitamin D deficient. This does not necessary imply that you have a full-blown vitamin D deficiency, but low levels and a baseline might lead to depression symptoms.

Vitamin D insufficiency symptoms can be mistaken with those of other illnesses or dismissed as fatigue or stress. The benefits of addressing a vitamin D deficiency are surprisingly large. 

Another reason for this is the location of vitamin D receptors in the body. One important site is in the brain. When these receptors do not receive enough vitamin D, dopamine synthesis suffers significantly.

Because vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, supplementing it without the advice of your doctor can be risky. This means that, unlike water-soluble vitamins, it can accumulate to hazardous quantities in the body.

This is one reason why eating vitamin D-rich foods is a great method to gradually increase your vitamin D levels. Fortified foods like orange juice and dairy or plant-based milk, as well as fatty fish like cod liver, tuna, and salmon, contain vitamin D.


3. Tryptophan-Rich Foods

Don’t let this strange word throw you off. This category of mood-enhancing foods is some of the tastiest and most versatile.

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, which implies that the body cannot produce it and must be obtained from food. It causes an increase in serotonin, the happy hormone, which acts as a biological messenger to stabilize mood.

When tryptophan levels are low, serotonin levels are generally also low. This causes mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.

Getting enough tryptophan in your diet is an easy method to boost serotonin levels. These foods include eggs, soy, cheese, almonds, and salmon. 

Like nearly all of the meals on this list, the tryptophan-rich foods are also high in other nutrients and omega fatty acids, which have been related to mood enhancement. 


4. Antioxidant-Rich Foods

Toxins and free radicals are chemicals and compounds produced by the body or brought into our surroundings. This can include our food, air pollutants, and the goods we use on our bodies and at home. 

These free radicals cause cell damage over time, and allowing this damage to develop and remain puts all aspects of health at danger, including the brain. This destruction is known as oxidative damage and can be slowed or prevented by consuming antioxidant-rich foods.

While free radicals and oxidative damage are unavoidable, their destruction can be reduced with an antioxidant-rich diet.

Antioxidant foods are assessed on a scale known as ORAC (oxygen radical absorption capacity). It signifies precisely what it sounds like: the food's ability to absorb free radicals.

Blueberries are frequently the first food that comes to mind when thinking an antioxidant-rich food item. This is somewhat realistic, given that blueberries are ranked third on the ORAC scale of fruits with 2,400 units.

Kale, spinach, broccoli, red bell pepper, oranges, strawberries, raisins, cherries, and kiwi, to mention a few, are also high in antioxidants.


5. Selenium-Rich Foods

Multiple studies have found a link between poor mood and low selenium levels. Selenium is an essential trace mineral, which means it must be obtained from diet and serves a variety of functions in the body.

It is linked to mood because it regulates thyroid hormone metabolism. The good news is that selenium-dense foods are very adaptable and can be used to supplement a variety of diets. 

They consist of legumes, beans, dairy products, nuts and seeds, lean meat, seafood, and whole grains. This variation can benefit both plant-based eaters and those who like animal items.


6. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Many experts are interested in learning more about the relationship between omega-3 fatty acids and depression, including major depressive disorder. 

While the mechanisms underlying this association are still being studied, there is sufficient data to suggest the benefits of including adequate omega-3 fatty acids in anyone's diet. 

Omega-3 fatty acids are good for your heart, joints, mood, and longevity. This vital fatty acid can be found in fatty fish like mackerel and salmon, as well as in plants like flaxseed, almonds, and dark leafy greens.


An Active Lifestyle Is Also Important

While nutrition is an important part of overcoming depression and improving mood, it is only one component of a holistic strategy. A healthy lifestyle can also help your mental health. 

Getting physically active will boost your mood and give you a sense of accomplishment.Fitness clubs provide many people with a sense of community, which can improve their mood. 

For those who can, it may be useful to assess your time and lifestyle to see if physical activity is something you can incorporate.


Bottom Line

While each of these foods and nutrients can boost your mood and alleviate depression or anxiety symptoms, you should always consult your doctor. It is critical to note that there is a distinction between simply feeling down and having clinical depression, which must be treated by a therapist.

If you're seeing a shift in your mood and want to address it through diet and lifestyle changes, these foods are a wonderful place to start. Evaluate your current diet and food choices to discover where you may make modifications to incorporate these foods and nutrients.

There is almost no downside to investigating how these meals and nutrients affect your mood. They will most likely increase your mood but will also have an impact on your general health.


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