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We always pay attention to our physical health more than mental health when it comes to nutrition and that's why mental health is most often overlooked. Physical health and mental health are closely connected and that's why we should ensure that the foods we eat benefit our mental health too.
Depression is a serious mental health disorder and most people are unaware that nutrition and depression are often linked together. Nutrition can play a major role in reducing the severity and duration of depression.
Studies have shown that nutrients like carbohydrates, protein, omega 3 fatty acids, B vitamins, folate, calcium, chromium, iodine, iron, selenium and zinc can lower the incidence of depression and other mental illnesses .
Make some small changes in your diet by incorporating these foods to help fight depression, which in turn will help uplift your mood instantly.
Foods To Help Combat Depression
Fishes such as mackerel, salmon, tuna, sardines and trout are excellent sources of omega 3 fatty acids that play an important role in the proper functioning of the brain. A study finding published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that eating more fish can reduce the risk of depression .
Fruits rich in vitamins and minerals like folate, B vitamins, vitamin D and selenium can help lower the risk of depression and can improve your mood. Consume fruits like apples, bananas, grapefruit, berries, and citrus fruits regularly.
Just as fruits are vital to reducing the risk of depression, vegetables hold similar importance too. Increase the consumption of vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, kale, and spinach as they are rich in folate, iron, B vitamins and other essential nutrients.
Nuts such as cashew nuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts and walnuts are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and polyphenol antioxidants that are known to support overall brain health. Among all the nuts, walnuts are considered the best for reducing the risk of depression and improving mood because it contains several neuroprotective compounds like folate, vitamin E, and other antioxidants .
Seeds are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, selenium, iron and zinc that can help improve your mood and lower depression risk. Consume seeds such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, and fenugreek seeds to enhance your mental health.
Legumes are high in carbohydrates and protein. Carbohydrates increase the production of brain chemicals serotonin and tryptophan that improve mood and increase energy levels at the same time. On the other hand, protein is made of amino acids and amino acids have a positive effect in functioning of the brain and mental health.
7. Dark chocolate
According to a study, consuming dark chocolate may have a positive effect on your mood and relieve the symptoms of depression. It is due to the psychoactive ingredients and phenylethylamine, a neuromodulator in chocolates that causes a feeling of euphoria and regulates mood .
8. Fermented foods
Fermented foods such as yogurt, kimchi, tempeh, miso, tofu, kombucha, and sauerkraut are great sources of probiotics that play an important role in improving mood and help fight depression. Probiotics are responsible for producing feel-good neurotransmitters apart from maintaining healthy gut bacteria.
Avocados are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and B vitamins that help reduce inflammation in the brain and regulate the brain's neurotransmitters. Consuming avocados will help the brain perform optimally and respond positively to stress.
Eggs are packed with zinc, vitamin D and B vitamins that can help overcome depression. And studies have shown that deficiency in vitamin D and zinc have been linked to depression .
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric is known to have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association showed that curcumin is effective in alleviating depression symptoms .
Honey is known to have potential health benefits and one of the health benefits is its ability to lower depression and anxiety. A study found that honey has memory-enhancement effects and neuropharmacological effects that help decrease depressive symptoms .