7 Foods that Fight Depression

Foods that fight depression

Depression affects millions of people all over the world.  A variety of lifestyle factors contribute to depression, however there is one that is often overlooked and undervalued. 

Diet.

That’s right, the foods you eat play a major role in how you feel.  Eating a well balanced diet helps to ensure you are providing your body with the necessary nutrients so that it may perform at its best.

It often seems there is a medication for everything.  Nutrition is powerful and its time we see that.  In the wise words of Hippocrates, it is time to  “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food”.  

Here are 7 foods that can help combat depression:

Walnuts

Foods that fight depression

Walnuts are one of the richest plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids.  Omega-3s play a key role in lessening symptoms of depression and supporting optimal brain function and cell membrane structure.  Walnuts are a “good fat” and your brain needs that “good fat” to function as it is designed to.

Dark Chocolate

foods that fight depression

It’s ok…you can get excited!  Dark chocolate helps to combat depression!  It triggers the release of serotonin and promotes relaxation of the blood vessels, promoting, once again, that natural “feel good” chemical in our bodies  I knew there was a reason I feel so happy when I eat chocolate!

Fatty Fish

foods that fight depression

Salmon, mackerel, and tuna are some of the types of oily fish that contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which we already know promotes brain function.  Oily or fatty fish can  also help to decrease inflammation within the body and decrease depressive symptoms.  The American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of fatty fish per week.

Turkey

foods that fight depression
By Patrick Fitzgerald from Atlanta, GA, USA (Flickr.com – image description page) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever wondered why you feel ready to take a nap after eating Thanksgiving dinner?  The answer is what’s in the turkey!  Turkey contains high levels of tryptophan, which triggers serotonin production, the body’s natural “feel good” chemical.  So eat some turkey and enjoy the natural high you feel afterwards!  Gobble, gobble.

Flaxseed

foods that fight depression
By Sanjay Acharya (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

An often overlooked nutritional powerhouse!  Flaxseed is high in dietary fiber and also rich in omega-3 fatty acids.  Flaxseed is beneficial in the treatment of depression and also has anti-inflammatory and heart-protective qualities.  Sprinkle a tablespoon or two in your oatmeal, in your smoothies, or even over a salad!

Berries

foods that fight depression

Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries provide us with a high level of antioxidants, which protect us against free radicals.  Antioxidants work as tiny repairmen for damaged cells and as you might guess,  cell function is very important for overall health.

Leafy Greens

foods that fight depression

You didn’t think I would leave out my favorite power food, (kale), did you?  Kale, spinach, swiss chard are not only nutrient-dense, but they also help to fight inflammation.  Inflammation in the brain has often been linked to depression, so incorporating a diet rich in dark, leafy greens helps to ensure you are providing your body with important vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that act as protective agents.