A list of healthy foods that fight depression naturally.
Depression is a mood disorder where you feel unhappy or hopeless for weeks, months or even years. Depression can be caused by many different issues like worry, life struggles or low self-esteem, and can seem as though there is no way out. Over time it can have a negative effect on the way you think and feel, and you may feel tired all the time. It can affect your lifestyle, work and sleeping patterns. The good news is that there are many natural therapies and methods to fight depression. Scientific research shows that certain foods can help to lift the mood.
In this article, we will explore 16 foods that fight depression naturally and explain how they work. We will also cover some extra tips and lifestyle changes that you can make to feel better quickly.
1. Salmon: If you are feeling depressed and have low mood we highly recommend consuming wild-caught salmon often. This is one of the best sources of EPA, an omega 3 fatty acid which acts as a natural anti-depressant. It is also a wonderful source of Vitamin D which improves mood, energy levels and concentration.
2. Green Tea to fight depression: Green tea is one of the best herbal drinks to help fight depression and lift the mood. It contains theanine, an amino acid that boosts electrical signals in the brain and dopamine. Drinking 2-3 cups of this daily helps to uplift the mood and also detoxify harmful chemicals from the body.
3. Yoghurt: Scientific research shows that consuming healthy fermented foods can help the brain to make neurotransmitters like GABA and serotonin. These are important for making you feel more energetic, happy and focused. Bulgarian yoghurt is one of the best sources of friendly bacteria that supports brain health.
4. Sauerkraut: This is fermented cabbage which helps to feed the friendly bacteria in the gut. This helps your body to absorb healthy minerals like magnesium and zinc to support a healthy brain and fight depression, anxiety and stress. It is also one of the richest sources of Vitamin C and antioxidants.
5. Pumpkin Seeds: Pumpkin seeds are the number one natural source of magnesium, a mineral which is very important for mental health. Magnesium helps make serotonin, a feel-good brain chemical which can prevent depression. Foods rich in magnesium also help your body to make energy at the cellular level.
6. Nutritional Yeast: Most people who are depressed are deficient in Vitamin B1 and sometimes B3. Nutritional yeast is one of the best sources of these and the entire Vitamin B complex. B vitamins help to calm the nervous system, reduce stress and stabilise the mood.
7. Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate contains 3 different chemicals that help you to feel good. We recommend eating a few cubes of this a day because it helps to trigger endorphins in the brain which work like mood enhancers. Endorphins make you feel uplifted and more awake and alert. Consume this earlier in the day as it can keep you up at night if you eat it too late. Choose a product with at least 70% raw cocoa solids.
8. Turmeric: This Eastern spice contains a unique compound called curcumin. Studies show that this can help to treat a major depressive disorder by reducing inflammation in the brain. You can take this in a capsule daily or add it to delicious recipes. Adding a little black pepper also helps your body to absorb this better.
9. Asparagus: It is important to start eating lots of cruciferous vegetables when you are trying to improve your mental health. Asparagus is one of the best sources of folate, another B vitamin that helps improve mood. It is also great for removing toxins from the liver to help purify your blood and balance blood sugars.
10. Kombucha Tea: This is a fermented drink which reduces stress levels and is a great replacement for alcohol. It contains probiotics which have linked to promoting positive mental health. It tends to have a calming effect on the body for relaxation and to improve sleep quality.
11. Mussels: Depression can be triggered by a deficiency in zinc and chromium. These are trace minerals which help the brain to make neurotransmitters. Shellfish like mussels, clams, and shrimp are a wonderful source of trace minerals. They are also loaded with Vitamin B12 which can protect against all kinds of neurological problems.
12. Eggs: Eggs contain all the building blocks of life and are a great source of tyrosine and all 9 of the essential amino acids. Amino acids are used by the brain to make “feel-good chemicals” like serotonin and dopamine. They are also one of the best sources of tryptophan which helps you sleep better and rebalance brain chemistry.
13. Beef: We highly recommend switching to grass-fed beef instead of commercial meats. This is a great source of tyrosine and phenylalanine which have been shown to ease depression and make people feel happier and relaxed. Amino acids like these are used as raw material by the brain to make mood lifting neurotransmitters.
14. Avocado: Many people suffer from blood sugar problems and this can lead to depression, low mood and even mood swings. We recommend cutting out refined foods and sugar and adding avocados to each meal. These contain some of the healthiest fats to help regulate blood sugar and keep the mood stable. They are also rich in magnesium and potassium, two minerals are medically shown to fight depression.
15. MCT Oil: Many people suffer from insulin resistance which blocks fuel from getting to the brain. This can make you feel low and lacking energy and mental focus. MCT oil is a special product made from coconut oil which feeds the brain cells directly with ketones. 1 teaspoon a day can get more energy into the brain cells and make you feel much happier and with a greater sense of wellbeing.
16. Spirulina: This is a powerful superfood powder made from green sea algae. Many vegans consume this often as it a powerhouse of nutrients. Spirulina is also one of the very best sources of tryptophan which supports serotonin production and plays an important role in mental health. It is very helpful to those with depression, anxiety and sleep disorders.
As you can see there are many wonderful foods that can you can consume to help fight depression safely and naturally. The most common cause of depression and other mood disorders is consuming too many refined grains and junk foods. Be sure to clean up the diet and start loading up on the nutritious foods shown today, to support brain function and make you feel much better. Consuming lots of cruciferous vegetables is also highly recommended because they are loaded with minerals that the body needs to make neurotransmitters and balance its brain chemistry. Some other great options are kale, brussels sprouts, purple cabbage and collard greens. Always consume these raw or lightly steamed to maximise their nutritional profile. Regular exercise such as a daily 20-minute walk is also a great way to fight off depression. Walking in forests and areas with lots of trees and space helps to calm the nervous system and help to relieve the pressures of life. If you feel physically exhausted every single day, then we also recommend intermittent fasting. This is a simple diet trick which involves eating all of your calories in a 5-hour window during the day. You can still eat the same amount of food, just in a smaller window. Your body is then able to fast for a further 19 hours, which helps to fire up the neurons in the brain and recycle old dead proteins. We also recommend meditation to help elevate the mood and lift your spirits. Simply switch off your devices and focus on your breathing for 5-10 minutes a day. There are also many guided meditations for depression available on YouTube. Finally getting at least 8 hours of sleep per day is essential when it comes to restoring your mental health. Valerian root and Rhodiola are wonderful herbs to help you to sleep better at night.