Foods that Help Reduce Depression and Anxiety
People, sometimes, fail to see the importance of good nutrition to one’s mental health. Eating the right foods is one component of mental health that is often overlooked. Several studies show that food helps reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. However, when you are struggling with depression and anxiety, the last thing on your mind is to think about the right food to eat.
Self-care is one of the most effective treatments for mental health issues like depression and anxiety. It focuses on observing and practicing healthy habits that would improve or maintain your physical, mental, and emotional wellness. This includes consuming the right kind of food.
Experts in the field believed that “poor diet can increase inflammation” in the brain, which is one factor that causes depression. Whether you are constantly feeling down or want to avoid mental health problems, eating these foods will bring you a better mood. The following foods are considered natural antidepressants.
Salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring, and trout are all rich in Omega-3. This type of fatty acid is needed for your body to function well. Omega-3 foods reduce inflammation and regulate neurotransmitters. Those who have experienced depression are said to be low in Omega-3. Studies show that there are fewer cases of depression and anxiety in places where people mostly eat large amounts of fish.
People avoid eating eggs because they think that they contain too much fat, particularly the yolks. But eggs are a good source of vitamin D and protein that aid in proper growth and development. Eggs also contain serotonin, which acts as a neurotransmitter. “Serotonin helps relay messages from one area of the brain to another. Because of the widespread distribution of its cells, it is believed to influence a variety of psychological and other body functions.”
We all know how nutritious green leafy vegetables are. They are rich in nutrients necessary to keep your immune system strong. Kale, Swiss chard, and arugula leaves should be included in your diet. Leafy greens are packed with folate, which is necessary for optimal brain function. Folate keeps your brain cells protected from depression. People who regularly eat leafy greens tend to be happier and healthier.
Nuts are healthy alternatives to processed snacks. Walnuts, in particular, have higher antioxidant activity than any other nut. “The activity comes from a combination of polyphenols, melatonin, and vitamin E.” They are rich in healthy fats, fibers, Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals that fight oxidative stress and inflammation. “The level of nutrients in green leafy vegetables with positive bioactive properties is off the charts, which is why countless studies show that symptoms of depression and anxiety can be reduced
significantly, and positive mood and life satisfaction increased significantly when we eat more dark leafy greens.”
Fruits, in general, are always a mood booster. They do not only keep you strong and healthy but they also ensure that you are always feeling good. Avocados are known to be a superfood. They are rich in folate, tryptophan and Omega-3 fatty acids that reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. “Research suggests that folate deficiency may be behind irrational fears and anxiety.”
“Chocolate is high in mood-boosting chemicals, including relaxing magnesium, calming anandamide, and pleasure-inducing phenylethylamine.” Dark chocolate decreases the chances of cell death and inflammation in the brain. It is recommended to choose dark chocolate with 70% cacao or more.
Your work and family life can be overwhelming, but a daily dose of berries is a sure way to uplift your mood. Berries are high in polyphenols, which help to manage inflammation, which is often linked to depression and anxiety. Furthermore, they “pack a wide range of antioxidants and phenolic compounds, which play a key role in combating oxidative stress — an imbalance of harmful compounds in your body.”
Another healthy food that reduces depression and anxiety is yogurt. Yogurt has healthy bacteria, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which work as agents in keeping your brain healthy. It also increases your serotonin levels, which contribute to a good mood. This is a great addition to your diet if you want to always feel calm and happy.
Not a lot of people eat beans, but they are a good source of nutrients that help prevent depression and anxiety. Studies show that beans are not just healthy food for weight loss; they also have properties that stabilize blood sugar levels. Small red beans are packed with magnesium, vitamin B, iron, and thiamine, which are responsible for improving your physical and mental health.
People only know of turmeric as spice, but it also eases depression and anxiety. Recently, more studies have shown the benefits of turmeric, especially in reducing symptoms and depression. It contains an active compound, curcumin, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. A 2017 study found that curcumin reduced depression symptoms. It was effective on its own and in combination with another herb, saffron.
Depression and anxiety are not easy to manage. But a proper diet and good nutrition alleviate your fears and worries about your mental health. Start looking for recipes that you can easily whip up at home. Just make sure that you consume the recommended daily intake of each food.
Eating the right foods to reduce depression and anxiety is just one step. It is always best to seek professional help if your depression and anxiety are starting to disrupt your life. Mindshift Psychological Services provides the right care and support you need to manage your mental health. Visit our website to know more about us or contact us at (714) 584-9700 if you wish to speak to one of our mental health professionals.