It’s just normal for all humans to go through myriad emotional phases and being on the low side of the mood curve falls along the same lines. At some point of time we’ve all had our own experiences of lows, depressions and bouts of mood swings, whatever the cause, that rendered us unfit for proper functioning.
Now, slight agitation and depressed feelings tend to go away on their own but severe depression poses problems and often requires professional medication or therapy.
Doctors often prescribe pills that fill the brain with serotonin as remedy for depression but my nutritionist friend has time and again reminded me of the power vested in nutrition, in fact, food have the ability to prevent and cure minor mood problems and that too without popping of any pills.
Different Foods To Beat Depression
Fish like salmon, mackerel, trout and fresh tuna are filled with essential fats called the Omega-3 fats which are very good for depression.
The omega-3 fats are essential fats but cannot be produced by the body, so we need to depend entirely on our food intake to meet the needs of our body. Omega-3 is of two types -DHA and EPA and according to researchers EPA is one of the potent, natural anti-depressants.
The B vitamins (B2, B3, B6, B12 AND folic acid) help the brain in methylation and maintain roper chemical homeostasis in the brain. Homocysteine, is a toxic amino acid whose levels, if increase, disrupts the homeostasis state of the brain and cause depression.
You’ll find vitamin B in oats, spelt, quinoa, fortified cereals, brown rice and fresh fruits and green vegetables. Integrate a variety of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet.
Researchers have successfully demonstrated a link between carbohydrate in the body and high serotonin levels. It is essential that you take good amount of complex carbohydrate to avoid depression.
However refined carbohydrates and sugar intake should be avoided because not only do they throw your blood sugar balance off balance but they also use up Vitamin B (the mood enhancers) while undergoing metabolism.
Just a handful of Brewers yeast in your diet will enrich it with 16 different types of amino acids and 14 minerals that are really beneficial for your nervous system.
A healthy and properly functioning nervous system helps treat depression. This super food also provides you with vitamin B that helps lower Homocysteine from the vascular system.
Cabbage is a well known for treating stress and infections. It has high levels of folic acid and Vitamin C.
It’s also good for the heart and controls blood sugar levels.You can add cabbage to your soups and salads to make it a part of your everyday diet.
Protein Rich Foods
Meats, fish, eggs, cheese, youghurt and beans are rich sources of protein and an amino acid called Tryptophan. Serotonin, the chemical substance required by the body to enhance mood and have calming effects on the brain is made from Tryptophan.
Your diet should have high levels of Tryptophan to ensure enough serotonin production in the body. These foods also provide Tyrosine that boost production of dopamine and norepinephrine that increase brain activity and curbs depressions.
Beta-carotene is an anti oxidant. Normal bodily functions release free radicals in the body that damage the routine body functions and often cause depression.
Beta-carotene ties up to these free radicals thereby making them harmless. Beta-carotene can be found in green vegetables, pumpkin, carrots and apricots.
Vitamin C contained in berries, broccoli, kiwi, potatoes and tomatoes act as anti oxidants in the body.
Nuts And Seeds
Walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds or flaxseed oils are a rich source of omega-3 essential fatty acids and antioxidants like Vitamin E.
This mineral is well known for its anti-depressant properties. It is found in considerable amounts in nuts and green leafy vegetables. You can take magnesium supplements along with your diet.
Not literally a food but is really good for depression. Our skin produces Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. So expose yourself to a bit of natural sunlight to help your body produce this nutrient and keep depression at bay. It is necessary that you lower the consumption of sugar, caffeine and alcohol which only aggravate depression and mood swings.