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Top 10 Foods for Fighting Depression

Published April 06, 2019 (Revised: August 08, 2019)
<article> <section> <p align="justify">Finding a diet that helps your depression can completely change your life—once you discover what works best for you. You already know how improving your diet can help you create a healthier lifestyle for your physical body. It turns out if you pick the right foods you can also fight and treat your depression. </p> <p align="justify">Seeking a natural way to help treat the symptoms of your depression can help to provide you with an overall better quality of life. There are many contributing factors that may worsen your symptoms of your depression and the severity of your mental illness, but creating a diet that’s beneficial to fighting your depression can help you manage your symptoms more effectively.</p> <p align="justify">Today, we’ll dive in and talk about how you can start naturally treating your depression by changing your diet, the top 10 foods for fighting depression, as well as what foods you should avoid while managing your mental health. </p> <p>Let’s get started!</P> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=" "> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt=" green-tea-in-cup-and-teapot"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>What Is Depression?</header> <p align="justify">According to the American Psychiatric Association <sup>3</sup>, <i>depression</i> is a common (but serious) medical illness that affects the way a person thinks, acts, and feels. While the most common treatment for depression is anti-depressants, not everybody is on-board with taking medication on a regular basis. </p> <p align="justify">So, if you’re one of those people, don’t lose hope in naturally fighting your depression. After all, food can be medicine- right?</p> <p align="justify">Right! For people who are interested in taking a more natural route to treat their mental illness, a healthy diet filled with depression fighting foods can completely transform your life.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>What Foods Are Good for Depression and Anxiety?</header> <p align="justify">The best foods for depression are natural and organic. Packed with all the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that your body needs to fight the symptoms of depression. Choosing high-quality, whole foods will prevent you from consuming pesticides, preservatives, and other harmful chemicals. Chemicals that are commonly used in the farming of inorganic foods. </p> <p align="justify">Avoiding foods that are highly processed helps you stay away from monosodium glutamate (MSG), genetically modified organisms (GMOs), artificial colors and flavorings, etc. Studies show<sup>4</sup> that these synthetic ingredients may increase the likelihood of developing brain fog, anxiety, depression, and other negative effects to your mental health.</p> <p align="justify">Instead of consuming processed and inorganic foods, try to fill your diet with as many organic foods as possible. Organic foods are free of pesticides, GMOs, and chemicals. Reducing your exposure to those harmful chemicals that negatively affect the functioning of the brain.</p> <p align="justify">You should also start looking to add free-range, grass-fed, hormone-free meat sources into your diet. Eating meats and seafood raised on organic diets—foods that they would naturally find in the wild—allows the meat sources to become dense in nutrients. Which means you’ll be eating meats that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and free of hormones and hormone disrupters. Look to start adding: grass-fed (or organic) beef or lamb, free-range (or organic) chicken, eggs, or pork, and wild-caught seafood to help fight your depression.</p> <p>The best foods for depression that you should start including in your diet are:</p> <ul> <li>Vegetables</li> <li>Nuts and nut butters</li> <li>Seeds and seed butters</li> <li>Grass-fed meats </li> <li>Organic animal by-products</li> <li>Organic seafood</li> <li>Spices</li> <li>Fats</li> <li>Dairy products (in moderation)</li> </ul> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>What Foods Are Good for Depression?</header> <p>Here are 10 of the top foods for fighting depression:</p> <ol> <div class="sub-head"> <li>Fatty fish</li> </div> <p align="justify">Fatty fish are high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Helping to boost your brain’s functioning and fight the symptoms of depression—as well as the mental illness itself. The best fatty fish to start adding into your diet include: wild salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, and swordfish <sup>5</sup>.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=" "> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt=" salmon-with-garnish-on-top"> </picture> <div class="sub-head"> <li>Ghee</li></div> <p align="justify">Love buttering up your favorite vegetables with processed butter or margarine? You don’t have to give up buttered broccoli or zucchini! Instead, try switching over to ghee, which is clarified butter that’s rich in butyric acid. Butyric acid goes to work in the body to reduce inflammation in the digestive tract. Creating an alkaline system, further reducing generalized inflammation throughout the rest of your body. </p> <div class="sub-head"> <li>Nori</li></div> <p align="justify">A form of seaweed, nori is a delicious snack to use in replacement of your salty chip or pretzel cravings. The lack of iodine in the average diet, may be a contributing factor to your depression.<sup>5</sup> Iodine is an essential mineral for proper hormone production in the body. When inadequate quantities are available in the body, a person is more likely to develop a mood disorder—such as depression or anxiety. Adding more nori in your diet will help increase your body’s intake of iodine, which may help you fight your depression.</p> <div class="sub-head"> <li>Cage-free Eggs</li></div> <p align="justify">Also referred to as “free-range” eggs, this mood-boosting animal by-product is rich in vitamin B12, biotin, and good cholesterol! Eggs are also rich in lecithin. Supplying your body with phosphatidylserine, which helps reduce your cortisol and anxiety levels—resulting in a boosted mood. </p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=" "> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt=" eggs-in-hay"> </picture> <div class="sub-head"> <li>Cashews</li></div> <p align="justify">Nuts are a tasty snack to grab if you’re on the go a lot. Cashews may even have a hidden benefit that you didn’t know about. Jam-packed with magnesium and tryptophan, cashews actually help reduce your inflammation levels by naturally lowering your cortisol levels. Lower cortisol levels results in a calmer nervous system. Also, the high levels of tryptophan in cashews causes a release of serotonin, the chemical in your brain that makes you feel happy. </p> <p align="justify">Looking to see what else cashews can offer you? Here’s how else cashews can help you to <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer"><b>boost your mental health</b></a>. </p> <div class="sub-head"> <li>Turmeric</li> </div> <p align="justify">Often found in Asian and Indian curry dishes, turmeric has natural anti-inflammatory properties. It can also help to boost your mood and fight depression. A decrease in inflammation in your body allows your brain to regulate its hormone production more efficiently. This will help to stabilize your depression over time. </p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=" "> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt=" turmeric-in-bowl-with-spoon"> </picture> <div class="sub-head"> <li>Broccoli</li> </div> <p align="justify">While this vegetable isn’t always a favorite, broccoli contains valuable selenium. An essential trace mineral that helps to regulate hormonal production. Broccoli is also rich in B vitamins. Studies have shown that B vitamin deficiencies over a long period of time can increase a person’s chances of developing depression.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=" "> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt=" single-piece-of-broccoli-on-table"> </picture> <div class="sub-head"> <li>Green tea</li></div> <p align="justify">Green tea is rich in antioxidants and contains the amino acid L-theanine. When consumed, this amino acid helps provide users with a calming and soothing effect caused by the altered level of neurotransmitters in the brain. </p> <div class="sub-head"> <li>Oysters</li> </div> <p align="justify">Oysters are rich in zinc, vitamin B12, and magnesium, all which are beneficial to your mental health and brain’s hormonal production. If you have a hard time consuming enough zinc in your diet, a serving of cooked oysters will provide you with five times your daily suggested intake of this mineral!</p> <div class="sub-head"> <li>Spinach</li> </div> <p align="justify">Dark leafy greens are an important part of any healthy diet. Spinach is especially important for individuals who are looking to build a diet to fight depression symptoms and boost their mood. Not only is it rich in iron, magnesium, and potassium, spinach also has high levels of Omega-3s—essential for healthy brain function. Kale, chard, and other dark leafy greens are also beneficial for your mental health to consume in your diet if you aren’t a big fan of spinach!</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=" "> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt=" spinach-in-white-bowl "> </picture> </ol> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>What Foods Should I Avoid to Fight Depression?</header> <p align="justify">Whenever possible, you should avoid eating foods that contain artificial flavors, synthetic ingredients, and preservatives. Some people have a sensitivity to these food additives, which can worsen their depression. A simple step you could make towards reducing or eliminating depression is to work on consuming less artificial foods with preservatives and synthetic ingredients. </p> <p align="justify">You should also work towards avoiding food that is highly processed. Refined foods— white bread, T.V. dinners, and hot dogs—lose their natural vitamins, minerals, and fiber that the original ingredients once had. In other words, the more processed a food is from its original state, the less nutritious it becomes. The over-processed foods a lot of us consume on a daily basis aren’t filled with the proper vitamins and minerals that can help us fight depression. </p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=" "> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt=" gummies-and-candy-in-store"> </picture> <p align="justify">As a general rule, you should avoid the following foods when looking to improve your physical and mental health <sup>2</sup>: </p> <ul> <li>Candy</li> <li>Fast food</li> <li>Soda </li> <li>Refined oils (canola oil, cottonseed oil, hydrogenated oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil)</li> <li>MSG (monosodium glutamate, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, yeast extract)</li> <li>Soy products</li> <li>Foods containing white flour</li> <li>White rice or pasta</li> <li>Foods high in sugar such as cookies, cake, etc.</li> </ul> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>What Are the Best Supplements to Help Improve My Mental Health?</header> <p align="justify">Sometimes a change in your diet won’t be enough to boost your mood and help your mental health. Taking a <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer"><b>supplement</b></a> can help to eliminate the majority of your depression symptoms and improve your overall health. When paired with a change in diet, consuming Omega-3 fatty acids supplement can lower anxiety levels and decrease the symptoms in people with depression. <p> <p align="justify">Turmeric is a popular <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer"><b>anti-inflammatory supplement</b></a> that can help boost your mood and change your mental health. Here are <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer"><b>10 other benefits</b></a> turmeric can have on your general health! Recent studies have shown that there are links between inflammation in the body and depression. Inflammation in the brain—caused by a poor diet—causes an irregular development of hormone production. This irregular hormone production can cause depression, anxiety, and other mental irregularities <sup>1</sup>.</p> <p align="justify">Finding the best foods for depression, to fight depressive symptoms, and improve your quality of life is possible! </p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=" "> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt=" turmeric-supplement-and-crushed-turmeric"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Can Food Really Help Fight My Depression?</header> <p align="justify">Absolutely! As we’ve discussed, organic, nutrient dense foods can help you fight depression. Always remember to consult your doctor before making any changes to your medical routine. But foods like fatty fish, cashews, and turmeric are foods known to help fight depression in a more holistic way! </p> <p align="justify">It’s also recommended that you pair your depression fighting diet with exercise, as exercise helps to release endorphins: the feel good hormone. Not exactly sure where to start as a beginner? Check out <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer"><b>this workout</b></a> that you can do during commercial breaks while you’re binge watching your favorite show!<p> <div class="sub-head">Resources</div> <ol> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Vitamin B12 Deficiency</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Foods to Avoid If You Have Depression or Anxiety</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">What Is Depression?</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">8 Food Additives Sabotaging Your Mood</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">4 Foods That Might Make Depression Worse</a></li> </ol> </section> <article>

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