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Can a Diet Affect Depression

by: Stefan Simonovic

Feeling down every once in a while is completely natural, and there is no person on the planet that doesn’t go through a period of feeling less than happy, festive or hopeful.

[Flickr: John Bowno]

Not all of us are diagnosed with the major depressive disorder, obviously, because a clinical diagnosis like that depends mostly on how long the periods of feeling depressed last. Still, feeling out of sorts for whatever reason is so common nowadays that even the smallest of things can help get us back on our feet, at least temporarily. There is no doubt that eating healthy positively affects the mood, and no, the point of eating healthy isn’t just to be in good shape and feeling sexy to take on cougar dating, running the marathon or becoming a personal trainer. The point of eating healthy is to help our body and mind function at an optimal level, and today we take a look at how a proper diet does wonders when you’re feeling too depressed to even get out of bed in the morning.

#1: Gut-Healthy Enhancing Foods

Research has confirmed many times that certain foods can affect your mood, especially those that are easily digested or easy on the gut. The science behind this notion asserts that gut bacteria produce neurochemicals that play a role in mood and other neurological functions. Taking foods rich in probiotics, such as yogurt, miso, pickles, buttermilk, and certain types of cheeses will have your gut jumping for joy, reducing the risk of feeling depressed.

#2: Other Foods Linked to Lowering Depression

Also, aim for foods that help in the production of serotonin, the ‘happy’ hormone, such as chickpeas rich in tryptophan, serotonin’s precursor. B12 and folate help prevent mood disorders and dementia, and foods where those are found are beetroot, lentils, almonds, spinach, fish, and so on. Individuals with vitamin D deficiency often experience mood swings, and in addition to sun exposure, vitamin D deficiency is easily combated by consuming breakfast cereals, bread, milk, and food supplements. Selenium is another nutrient that decreases depression, and it is found in cod, Brazilian nuts, walnuts, and poultry. Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids is crucial for proper cognitive and behavioral functioning, and if you like haddock, salmon, cod, halibut, and algae you’re in luck! Last but not least, dark chocolate increases endorphin production in the body, leading to an overall sense of well-being.

#3: Natural Depressants To Be Avoided

Having a drink or two every once in a while will do no harm, but alcohol is actually a depressant despite the fact that it produces an instant high. Heavy alcohol consumption decreases serotonin levels, meaning people with a drinking problem are more prone to depression and anxiety. Caffeine is much the same as it hinders the production of serotonin. Lots of people out there enjoy their coffee and can’t imagine life without it, but limiting coffee, tea, and hot cocoa intake has numerous health benefits, including a better mood. The usual suspects, such as processed foods and refined sugar also make us feel better instantly, but quickly lead to the crash-and-burn feeling, and should be reduced to the absolute minimum.

About the author:

Stefan is a writer and a blogger in his spare time. He also works for First Beat Media, a company that mainly focuses on the online dating niche and similar services.

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