• Can Your Diet Help Treat Your Depression?

    by Caroline Ryther
    on Dec 17th, 2018

As far as scientists know, there's no exact diet that's been proven to relieve depression. However, while certain eating plans or foods may not ease your symptoms or put you instantly in a better mood, the foods we are about to mention could help as part of your overall treatment.

We encourage you to try staying within the parameters of this diet: protein, good carbs, antioxidants and vitamins. These four groups of nutrients should be in your main focus when battling depression and anxiety – and you could try avoiding sugars and caffeine if you want to amplify the calming effect.

 Antioxidants Decrease and Prevent Cell Damage

Your body will naturally make molecules called “Free Radicals” and these can lead to cell damage, aging, and other problems – a very unfortunate a byproduct of this necessary process. Studies show that Free Radicals impact your brain more negatively than any other organ or body part. There's no way to stop free radicals from damaging your body over time, however, you can lessen their destructive effect by eating foods rich in antioxidants, such as:

Beta-carotene: cantaloupe, apricots, butternut squash, broccoli, kale, carrots, mango, collards, peaches, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potato.

Vitamin C: blueberries, strawberries, pineapples, grapefruit, bell peppers, kiwi, oranges, potatoes, lemon, tomato, lime, guavas, papayas.

Vitamin E: peanuts, hazelnuts, margarine, spinach, broccoli, sun flower seeds, wheat germ, goose meat, Atlantic salmon, avocado, rainbow trout, crayfish, cod, octopus, lobster,

Side note: your body also needs vitamin E to help keep the immune system strong against viruses and bacteria. Feeling fresh and being sick less makes you want to go out and be psychically as well as socially active which helps relieve depression tremendously. Make sure you eat sea food at least once a week with avocado!

Protein-Rich Foods Boost Your Happy Hormones

Meats such as turkey, tuna, and chicken have an amino acid called “Tryptophan”, which can help increase your serotonin levels – aka your happy hormones! Eat meals and small snacks with protein several times a day, especially when you need to clear your mind and boost your energy. You’ll most likely feel a noticeable difference over time, especially if your regular diet is carb/sugar heavy.

Still, we don’t recommend cutting carbs completely!

Some carbs are linked to serotonin too, and would help boost your levels even further than a pure protein diet would. Experts aren't sure, but carb cravings sometimes may be related to low serotonin activity, so when you feel a prolonged urge for carbs, give in, but make wise choices. Indulge in your favorite berries and fruit, enjoy a smoothie, or make a yummy salad with veggies, legumes – and even fruits if you like.

We repeat: choose your carbs VERY wisely. Limit sugary foods and opt for smart or “complex” carbs (such as whole grains) rather than simple carbs (such as cakes and cookies). Vegetables and fruits are high in fiber which makes you feel full for a longer time, and will over time stabilize your sudden sugar cravings. Try going for only natural sugars (found in fruit and veggies) for three days and see how different you already feel.  

If you would like to know more about depression treatments and healthy options, please feel free to schedule a consultation with the Neuroscience center:

Phone: 847-306-8938

Email: pm@mind.md

Author Caroline Ryther

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