Anti Depression Foods, Can They Help You?

by Editorial Board on September 3, 2010 · 1 comment

in Mental Conditions,Health & Wellness

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If you suffer from serious depression that is interfering with your ability to live and work productively, you are probably interested in anything that may help. There are many ways to treat depression, and no one way is right for everyone. However, a nutritious and well-balanced diet rich in certain foods may help you combat depression, either alone or in combination with another treatment.

A diet rich in fish, particularly cold-water fish such as salmon and mackerel, may help combat depression. Fish are a good source of the omega-3 fatty acid EPA, which several studies have shown to have a significant anti-depressant effect when taken with or without conventional anti-depressant drugs. Walnuts, flax seeds, and pumpkin seeds are also sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

B-vitamin deficiencies are common in people diagnosed with depression, and can even make anti-depressant drugs less likely to be effective. It is particularly important to get enough folic acid, a B-vitamin which can be found in foods such as spinach, orange juice, avocado, and peas.

The amino acid tryptophan can help increase levels of serotonin, a hormone that plays a significant role in depression. Anti-depressant drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) work by keeping serotonin from being reabsorbed by the brain’s nerve cells, which leaves more serotonin available in the brain. You can increase serotonin levels through diet by eating foods containing tryptophan, such as eggs, meat, and beans.

There are also certain foods that you should avoid in order to improve depression. Keeping a stable blood sugar level is important in maintaining a stable mood. To do this, avoid processed foods and refined carbohydrates and sugars, which cause major fluctuations in glucose levels. You should also avoid alcohol, which can deplete serotonin levels.

A traditional Mediterranean diet incorporates many of these tips, and a recent study suggests it may help prevent depression. Key components of the Mediterranean diet include a lot of fish, beans, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and cereals; little meat; a moderate amount of alcohol and dairy; and more monounsaturated fatty acids and fewer saturated fatty acids.

As you can see, there is nothing mysterious about anti depression foods, and they can be easily incorporated into your diet. There is scientific evidence that what you eat affects how you feel, and making a simple lifestyle change like modifying your diet is one way you can be proactive in your fight against depression.

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