Contributed by: Rachana Arya

Introduction

Everyone knows that what we eat has a great impact on us physically.

It turns out, however, that the cliche “you are what you eat” also applies to your mental health.

A growing body of evidence suggests that food plays a significant role in our mental and emotional health.

So what should you eat for depression?

Whatever your individual dietary preferences, nonetheless, there are a variety of options that can improve overall brain health and certain types of mood disorders.

Go ahead and give your mood a big boost with some of these foods with mood-boosting benefits!

Bananas

Many people who suffer from depression have reported feeling better after eating this tasty and convenient snack.

This could be due to the presence of tryptophan, a kind of protein that the body converts to serotonin, an essential neurotransmitter that balances mood and daily functioning.

Most antidepressants work to boost serotonin levels in the brain. vitamin B6 — found in bananas — has been proved to help balance your mood and reduce PMS symptoms.

The potassium-rich banana has three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and many other vitamins and minerals when compared to an apple.

Salmon

Besides being one of the most nutritious foods in the world, salmon is one superfood high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are heart-healthy lipids.

Additionally, this vitamin has been linked to improved mood, moderate depression, and memory.

People who don’t get enough omega-3 fats may be more prone to depression.

Oily fish like salmon is also rich in vitamin B12. This vitamin is thought to aid in the creation of serotonin, a mood-regulating neurotransmitter. 

Eggs

Eggs are often referred to as nature’s perfect food because they include complete proteins, meaning they contain all the essential amino acids the body needs for growth and development.

Eggs are high in calcium and vitamin B12 that yield great health benefits.

According to several studies, those who have low amounts of vitamins are more prone to be depressed.

It’s possible that a lack of it produces a deficiency in a molecule known as s-adenosylmethionine (SAM), which your brain needs to metabolise other chemicals that affect your mood.

Eggs are also a valuable source of selenium. Studies have linked a lack of selenium, an essential mineral to higher levels of melancholy and low mood.

Spinach & dark leafy greens

Spinach and depression may seem like an odd combination, but leafy greens have numerous benefits that support both mental and physical well-being.

Folic acid, found in dark leafy greens like spinach, chard, and kale, has been shown to aid ease sadness and fatigue.

These greens are high in antioxidants, which protect brain cells from free radicals, which can cause depression and exhaustion.

Furthermore, dark leafy greens are high in magnesium, which promotes sleep and improves our ability to cope with and regulate stress.

Folate, fibre, and other nutrients make vegetables—especially the darker leafy greens—a wonderful choice if you struggle with depression. 

Walnuts

Although most nuts are helpful in supplementing omega-3 fats, walnuts seem to be the winner in this category.

Walnuts are known for supporting overall brain health since they are one of the highest plant-based sources of omega-3 and contain ALA omega-3 fatty acids and polyphenols.

Substantial evidence from animal and human studies suggests that dietary consumption of walnuts can assist to keep your mood in check and reduce mood swings.

They’re also high in antioxidants, making them a convenient mood booster on the road. Flax seeds and sunflower seeds are also excellent mood boosters.

What should you avoid or consume in moderation for depression?

  • Red meat and processed meats 
  • Alcohol
  • Highly processed carbohydrates 
  • Soda and sugar-sweetened drinks
  • Fried foods
  • Junk foods
  • Caffeinated drinks

Final thoughts

Of course, our state of mind is a complex interplay of a variety of factors, so we can’t rely solely on the foods for all the clinical variations.

In addition to seeing a mental health professional, tweaking your diet is a powerful modifiable factor to support your overall brain health and keep depression at bay.

That said, just as there is no magic pill to prevent ageing, no single almighty mood-enhancing food can guarantee to relieve depression. However, some foods mentioned above might give your body a little help in fighting it.

Besides adding these mood-uplifting foods to your diet, you must also opt for preventive diagnostic tests to identify any potential complications and take measures to protect your overall well-being.

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