The Effect Of Food On The Mind – The Best Foods For Depression

The Effect Of Food On The Mind – The Best Foods For Depression


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Nutrition is often one of the most overlooked aspects of mental health. It’s well known that the food you consume has an obvious impact on your physical health, but it turns out that it can also have quite a large impact on your mental and emotional health.

There have been a range of extensive studies that link nutrition and diet with mental health. One of the largest studies from 2017 showed that individuals who suffered from moderate to severe depression were able to improve their symptoms after receiving nutritional counselling and consuming a healthier diet. Additionally, there have been studies that suggest a strong correlation between an increased selenium intake with  improved mood and a reduction in anxiety.

That being said, there’s no specific diet that can “cure” depression. But certain changes in your diet may help reduce symptoms, improve mood and have positive effects on your everyday life.

 

The Best Foods That Can Help With Depression

I’ve compiled a list of foods that should cater to most dietary requirements and that have been linked to improvements in mood and symptoms of depression.

 

Walnuts

Although most nuts are extremely healthy and contain an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids, Walnuts are the clear winner. They are one of the highest plant-based sources of protein and omega-3, both of which are important in improving mood.

Studies have shown that adults who consume ¼ cups of walnuts daily had lower depression scores, as much as 26% lower, than those who didn’t. Additionally, they are more likely to have higher energy, optimism and concentration levels.

 

Brazil Nuts

On the topic of nuts, Brazil nuts are another amazing addition to a healthy daily diet. These nuts contain more selenium than any others, a mineral that has been studied extensively for its ability to assist with improved mood and helping to make depression more manageable.

 

Blueberries

Those tasty blue and purple colored berries.

They’re always being hailed as one of the healthiest fruits to consume due to their abundance of antioxidants. Studies have shown that they may prevent heart disease, help maintain eye health and regulate the body’s blood sugar.

But, thanks to all of the vitamin C within these berries, they can be beneficial for reducing the negative impact of stress. This can in-turn, assist in making depression more manageable. Additionally, Blueberries contain an antioxidant called flavonoid anthocyanin which has been associated with a reduction in inflammation and the risk of depression.

 

Dark Chocolate

Who’d have guessed, hey?

It turns out that chocolate containing around 85% cocoa can be both nutritious and mood boosting. Similar to blueberries, dark chocolate contains an abundance of antioxidants that may assist in managing the effects of depression.

Additionally, cocoa contains micronutrients called polyphenols which naturally occur in plants. Studies have shown that cocoa polyphenols can enhance positive mood states and help individuals deal with the negative effects of anxiety and depression.

 

Salmon

Salmon is widely considered to be one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. Each serving of salmon packs a healthy dose of protein, fatty acids, oils, vitamins and other essential nutrients.

There are three nutrients in particular that salmon is full of that help to support mental health.

First up we have eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acid, two omega 3 fatty acids that our bodys are unable to produce on their own. These promote healthy brain function and assist in decreasing inflammation which can assist in maintaining a healthy mental state.

Salmon is also rich in B12. This vitamin plays an important role in  supporting the brain and chemicals that impact mood. There have also been various studies linking b12 deficiency with depression.

Vitamin D is also abundant in salmon and has been linked to lower rates of depression. Some of these studies have been based around light therapy, since sun exposure is a great way to increase vitamin D levels. However, data has shown that a large portion of the population don’t get enough time in the sun, thus limiting their ability to get their recommended daily dose of vitamin D. Because of this, supplementation or the consumption of food high in vitamin D, such as salmon, is a great way to keep your levels up.

 

Leafy Greens

Last on the list, leafy greens.
Spinach and kale in particular.

Leafy greens are full of vitamin B9, also known as folate. Folate is a nutrient that helps keep the body’s cells healthy. Studies, as far back as the 1960’s, have shown that there is a link between folate deficiency and depression. Although the amount of folate required regulate mood appears to be unknown, these studies have still shown that a diet rich in folate can have a positive effect those suffering with depression.

 

Always Consult With A Medical Professional

As with anything pertaining to your health, it’s important to consult with your medical professional. Although the above list is based on numerous studies and general nutritional knowledge, it’s always important to consult with your doctor before making any major changes.