Seeking medical help is the first thing you should do if you are suffering from depression. However, eating the right foods can also help improve your mental health.
When going through a mental disturbance, most of us tend to make food our last priority. This only contributes to deteriorating mental health.
That’s why we are here with a list of foods you can include in your diet to help combat depression. It might sound bizarre, but feeding your brain the right kind of fuel can actually help improve your mood. So, scroll down and check them out!
Walnuts have several nutrients that can improve mood. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like alpha-linolenic acid, that are critical for your brain’s functioning and physiology. Alpha-linolenic acid is the precursor of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
DHA plays a role in maintaining membrane stability of your cells, the speed of neural signaling, and modulation of serotonin and dopamine (feel-good neurotransmitters) concentrations in your brain.
Serotonin and dopamine help control your sleep cycle, depression, and mood swings. Walnuts are also rich sources of folate, which can help prevent cognitive impairment and depression.
Onions are rich in dietary flavonoids that have proven antidepressant effects. They also contain quercetin, which is a potent antioxidant. This flavonol increases the availability of neurotransmitters like 5-hydroxytryptamine and norepinephrine.
During depression, the levels of these neurotransmitters are abnormal. Onion flavonoids help in lowering depression by regulating these neurotransmitter levels, energy metabolism parameters, and cytokine levels and reducing oxidative stress.
Blueberries, raspberries, goji berries, strawberries, and other members of the berry family contain potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents. They all contain varying amounts of polyphenols like anthocyanins, proanthocyanins, flavones, flavonoids, and catechins.
Apart from chlorogenic acid, one of the most abundant polyphenols that berries (mainly, blueberries) contain is resveratrol. This natural compound has been found to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antidepressant effects in experimental models using animals.
This could be because resveratrol may alter the inflammatory process of brain centers involved in mood regulation (like hippocampus).
The antioxidant effect of resveratrol can also prevent the cognitive decline associated with age-related depression.
4. Whole grains
Whole grains are great sources of micronutrients. Out of all the minerals they offer, zinc, selenium, and magnesium have the highest impact on your brain and its activity centers.
Zinc, for example, can help lower the amount of cortisol (the major stress hormone) in your blood, increase the expression of certain factors like the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is important for nerve health, and prevent damage from free radicals.
Magnesium and selenium take care of the serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine equilibrium, boost hippocampal activity, and curb inflammation that could be driving the severity of depression.
Avocado is rich in magnesium an important mineral for your brain. It helps in the timely release of neurotransmitters, regulates thirst, hunger, mood, sexual drive, and sleep cycle, and reduces anxiety and depression.
Avocado is also a rich source of folate. This is important to note because low levels of folate have the potential to increase the risk of depression.
The B vitamins found in avocado trigger the release of the “feel good” neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. This can help you manage the symptoms of anxiety.
The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé