Eating healthy can have an important impact on reducing the symptoms of depression. From specific foods and nutrients to general dietary guidelines, understanding which diet changes can make a difference in managing depression is key.
Understand the Link Between Diet and Depression
Studies have consistently shown that there is a strong connection between diet and depression. Specific foods, such as processed carbohydrates like white bread, chips, and sugary snacks can lead to insulin spikes that can cause inflammation and mood swings. Likewise, evidence suggests that nutrient-rich diets full of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats can reduce symptoms of depression. A well balanced diet provides important vitamins and minerals crucial for the production of serotonin – an important neurotransmitter essential for healthy moods.
Identify Nutrient Deficiencies
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can affect brain function which can lead to mental health symptoms such as depression or anxiety. Common deficiencies include B-vitamins, particularly vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and zinc. Consider speaking with a dietician who can test and provide personalized recommendations to correct any nutritional deficiencies. Additionally, update your current vitamins or supplements based on the dietician’s advice.
Include Nutrient-Rich Foods in Your Diet
A diet rich in nutrient-dense foods is important for proper body and brain functioning. Aim to fill your plate half with fruits and vegetables, one-quarter with whole grains, and the remaining quarter with lean protein sources. Making sure you have a variety of colorful produce is one way to ensure your receiving an array of vitamins and minerals essential for health. Strive for a balanced diet that emphasizes plant-based proteins, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats (like avocados, nuts, and seeds), vegetables, and fruits.
Be Mindful of Unhealthy Eating Habits and Substances
Limiting your mileage on unhealthy eating habits, like sugar-sweetened beverages, processed and packaged foods, fried foods, red meat and other saturated fats can be beneficial for managing symptoms of depression. Additionally, limiting your intake of alcohol and other substances that have an effect on serotonin levels may help improve overall mental health. Think of an adequate nutrition plan as part of a holistic treatment approach when dealing with emotional distress.
Supplement Your Diet With Natural Anti-Depressants
Consider boosting your overall mental wellness with natural anti-depressants with a healthy diet. Nuts and seeds such as walnuts, cashews, and pumpkin seeds contain compounds called omega-3 fatty acids which are important in maintaining balanced moods. Low-fat dairy products like yogourt provide much needed levels of calcium, magnesium and Vitamin D to combat depression and decrease fatigue. Additionally, limiting caffeine intake is important for keeping stress levels low.