Altering your diet to ensure you get the nutrients you need has many benefits. As well as a healthier body, they can also help create a healthier mind. Mental illnesses, like depression, affect lots of people but making sure you are getting the nutrients needed can help manage and control symptoms. We are not claiming there is a set diet for depression. However, a change can certainly be helpful and may just be the key to helping you.
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Antioxidants have the ability to help and repair damaged cells. They can also help with fighting stress and reducing the risk of diseases such as cancer and diabetes (type 2). Antioxidants also increase blood antioxidant levels, which have the beneficial side effect of reducing the effects of depression. Luckily, healthy foods such as strawberries, raspberries, kale and spinach are all high in antioxidants. Even dark chocolate can help provide those essential nutrients; the higher the cocoa content, the more antioxidants.
Vitamin D is important for the brain to function healthily. That is why insufficient levels can play a role in increasing the effects of depression. However, higher levels of vitamin D can be introduced to a diet very easily. Fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna all contain high levels of vitamin D. It can also be found in drinks like orange juice and fortified plant-based milk like soy and almond.
Zinc is important to maintain in a diet as it boosts the immune system. It can also help improve the appearance of the skin. However, insufficient amounts of zinc in your diet can increase the symptoms of depression. Therefore, meat like pork and beef can be very beneficial as they contain high levels of zinc. Shellfish like lobster, crab and oysters can also help provide zinc. However, if you are vegetarian or vegan, there are still other options, such as chickpeas and cashews.
Protein helps the body to grow and repair but can also be beneficial in your diet for depression. This is because the body uses protein to create serotonin, which is the hormone that helps people feel good. Protein is in various tasty foods, so can be included in everyone’s diet. It is in meat products such as chicken, beef, and fish. It is also in dairy products like milk, cheese, and yoghurt. However, for those who are vegan, protein can also be included in your diet. Proteins can be found in plant products such as beans, almonds, and walnuts.
Vitamin B also helps with the levels of serotonin in the brain and therefore is helpful at regulating your mood. However, vitamin B is not stored in the body for long periods of time. Therefore, it must be replenished through your diet. Vitamin B can be found in many tasty foods. This includes seafood like salmon, oysters, and trout. It can also be found in green leaves like spinach and lettuce. Also, dairy products like eggs, milk, and yoghurt. Lastly, also in meat products such as beef, chicken, turkey, and pork. There are a variety of B vitamins that can be implemented in a diet for depression. Our article The Difference Between Macro & Micro-Nutrients goes into further detail about these vitamins and which foods they can be found in.
Overall, there is not just one diet for depression. However, that does not mean you cannot make changes in your meals to ensure you get the nutrients you need and help reduce the effects of depression. Whilst a diet should not be your only source of treatment if you are battling depression, a diet can be a healthy way to ease your symptoms and manage your mood.
If you are struggling with depression, talk to a medical professional for treatments and guidance!
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