Diet​ ​for​ ​Depression:​ ​9​ ​Mood​ ​Enhancing​ Foods

diet for depression

Most​ ​people​ ​go​ ​through​ ​periods​ ​of​ ​feeling​ ​sad​ ​or​ ​withdrawal​ ​at​ ​some​ ​point or​ ​the​ ​other,​ ​which​ ​is​ ​quite​ ​natural,​ ​but​ ​if​ ​you​ ​feel​ ​sad​ ​continuously​ ​for weeks​ ​or​ ​months​ ​or​ ​for​ ​years​ ​then​ ​it​ ​could​ ​be​ ​a​ ​sign​ ​of​ ​depression.

​According​ ​to​ ​the​ ​​World​ ​Health​ ​Organization​​ ​(WHO),​ ​350​ ​million​ ​people worldwide​ ​suffer​ ​from​ ​depression.

According​ ​to​ ​NIMH​,​ ​an​ ​estimated​ ​16.1​ ​million​ ​adults​ ​aged​ ​18​ ​or​ ​older​ ​in​ ​the United​ ​States​ ​had​ ​at​ ​least​ ​one​ ​major​ ​depressive​ ​episode​ ​in​ ​2015.​ ​This number​ ​represented​ ​6.7%​ ​of​ ​all​ ​U.S.​ ​adults.

​Depression​ ​is​ ​not​ ​a​ ​sign​ ​of​ ​weakness​ ​rather​ ​it​ ​is​ ​a​ ​serious​ ​medical condition​ ​having​ ​real​ ​symptoms.​ ​But​ ​the​ ​good​ ​news​ ​is​ ​that​ ​it​ ​is​ ​fully curable.​ ​

Along​ ​with​ ​the​ ​therapy​ ​and​ ​the​ ​medications,​ ​there's​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​that​ ​can be​ ​done.

Some​ ​changes​ ​in​ ​your​ ​lifestyle,​ ​physical​ ​activity​ ​and​ ​thinking​ ​can​ ​slowly make​ ​you​ ​feel​ ​better.  

Changes​ ​in​ ​your​ ​diet​ ​by​ ​including​ ​some​ ​mood​ ​enhancing​ ​foods​ ​that​ ​are known​ ​to​ ​fight​ ​depression​ ​can​ ​be​ ​very​ ​helpful. 

Now​ ​the​ ​question​ ​arises​ ​that​ ​how​ ​does​ ​food​ ​help​ ​in​ ​fighting depression?

​Well,​ ​some​ ​foods​ ​are​ ​known​ ​to​ ​contain​ ​antioxidants​ ​and​ ​nutrients​ ​that​ ​give the​ ​brain​ a ​lot​ ​of​ ​energy​ ​to​ ​create​ ​neurotransmitters.

Serotonin​,​ ​a​ ​neurotransmitter​ ​which​ ​is​ ​produced​ ​in​ ​the​ ​brain​ ​and​ ​the intestines is​ ​​responsible​ ​to​ ​regulate​ ​anxiety,​ ​happiness​ ​and​ ​mood​ ​and is majorly​ ​affected​ ​by​ ​our​ ​diet.​ ​

It​ ​is​ ​made​ ​from​ ​the​ ​essential​ ​amino​ ​acid ‘​tryptophan​’.​ ​This​ ​amino​ ​acid​ ​is​ ​commonly​ ​found​ ​in​ ​nuts,​ ​red​ ​meat,​ ​and cheese​ ​etc.​

​So​ ​a​ ​deficiency​ ​of​ ​this​ ​amino​ ​acid​ ​leads​ ​to​ ​lower​ ​levels​ ​of serotonin,​ ​which​ ​in​ ​turn​ ​can​ ​lead​ ​to​ ​mood​ ​disorders​ ​leading​ ​to​ ​depression in​ ​some​ ​cases. 

According to a study from researchers at Duke University in Durham, NC (published in February 2015) mice who were deficient in serotonin were more vulnerable to stress than a group of healthy control mice.

Interestingly,​ ​there​ ​are​ ​many​ ​foods​ ​like​ ​walnuts,​ ​pineapple,​ ​kiwis,​ ​tomatoes etc​ ​that​ ​contain​ ​serotonin,​ ​​but​ ​the​ ​serotonin​ ​present​ ​in​ ​these​ ​foods​ ​does not​ ​enter​ ​the​ ​brain.​ ​

The​ ​brain​ ​is​ ​supposed​ ​to​ ​produce​ ​its​ ​own​ ​serotonin​ ​with the​ ​help​ ​of​ ​tryptophan.​ ​

So​ ​it​ ​gets​ ​important​ ​to​ ​add​ ​foods​ ​to​ ​our​ ​diet​ ​that​ ​are rich​ ​in​ ​tryptophan​ ​in​ ​order​ ​to​ ​fight​ ​depression.

​A​ ​quick​ ​way​ ​to​ ​raise​ ​serotonin​ ​is​ ​by​ ​having​ ​sugary​ ​food.​ ​

This​ ​is​ ​the​ ​reason why​ ​people​ ​crave​ ​for​ ​sugary​ ​and​ ​fatty​ ​foods​ ​when​ ​they​ ​feel​ ​stressed.

However,​ ​sugar​ ​also​ ​triggers​ ​a​ ​stress​ ​promoting​ ​chemical​ ​called​ ​cortisol,​ ​so binging​ ​on​ ​sweets​ ​is​ ​not​ ​a​ ​good​ ​idea.

​According​ ​to​ ​the​ ​experts​ ​serotonin​ ​level​ ​can​ ​be​ ​raised​ ​if carbohydrates​ ​and​ ​proteins​ ​are​ ​consumed​ ​separately. 

​Here​ ​are​ ​some​ ​foods-​ ​also​ ​known​ ​as​ ​mood​ ​enhancing​ ​foods,​ ​that​ ​are known​ ​to​ ​help​ ​fight​ ​depression:  ​

1. Turmeric:​ ​​Turmeric​ ​is​ ​also​ ​termed​ ​as​ ​miracle​ ​spice​ ​as​ ​it​ ​is​ ​known​ ​to possess​ ​a​ ​number​ ​of​ ​healing​ ​properties.​ ​

turmeric

Turmeric​ ​is​ ​known​ ​to​ ​be anti-inflammatory,​ ​anticarcinogenic,​ ​antifungal,​ ​antibacterial, antidepressant,​ ​pain​ ​reliever,​ ​anti-diabetic​ ​etc.​ ​

The​ ​medicinal properties​ ​of​ ​turmeric​ ​are​ ​primarily​ ​due​ ​to​ ​the​ ​curcuminoid​ ​content​ ​in it.​

​Mainly,​ ​three​ ​types​ ​of​ ​curcuminoids​ ​are​ ​there:​ ​curcumin, demethoxycurcumin,​ ​and​ ​bisdemethoxycurcumin.

​Curcumin​ ​is​ ​known to​ ​regulate​ ​neurotransmitters​ ​such​ ​as​ ​serotonin​ ​and​ ​thus​ ​helps​ ​to fight​ ​depression.​ ​

It​ ​is​ ​also​ ​a​ ​rich​ ​source​ ​of​ ​antioxidants​ ​and​ ​is​ ​known to​ ​fight​ ​inflammation​ ​and​ ​free​ ​radicals. 


2. Fruits​ ​and​ ​vegetables:​​ ​Almost​ ​all​ ​the​ ​fruits​ ​and​ ​vegetables​ ​are loaded​ ​with​ ​nutrients​ ​and​ ​antioxidants.

fruits and vegetables

​People​ ​who​ ​have​ ​a​ ​diet​ ​rich​ ​in vegetables​ ​and​ ​fruits​ ​instead​ ​of​ ​fried​ ​food,​ ​sugary​ ​food​ ​and​ ​refined grains​ ​etc​ ​have​ ​lower​ ​rates​ ​of​ ​depression.​ ​

For​ ​instance,​ ​carrots​ ​are loaded​ ​with​ ​beta-carotene​ ​which​ ​is​ ​a​ ​powerful​ ​antioxidant​ ​which​ ​helps to​ ​fight​ ​depression.​ ​

Carotenoids​ ​occur​ ​naturally​ ​in​ ​bright​ ​red,​ ​yellow, and​ ​orange​ ​pigments​ ​in​ ​fruits​ ​and​ ​vegetables.​ ​

Leafy​ ​green vegetables​ ​contain​ ​folate.​ ​It​ ​is​ ​a​ ​fact​ ​that​ ​low​ ​level​ ​of​ ​folate​ ​can​ ​result in​ ​depression​ ​along​ ​with​ ​many​ ​other​ ​problems.​ ​Folate​ ​is​ ​known​ ​to affect​ ​neurotransmitters​ ​that​ ​impact​ ​mood.​ ​​

​Other​ ​folate-rich vegetables​ ​are-​ ​asparagus,​ ​Brussels​ ​sprouts,​ ​beans,​ ​peas​ ​etc.​ ​All citrus​ ​fruits​ ​are​ ​also​ ​rich​ ​in​ ​folate.​ ​

Berries​ ​have​ ​the​ ​highest​ ​level​ ​of antioxidants​ ​that​ ​fight​ ​free​ ​radicals.​ ​

The​ ​high​ ​content​ ​of​ ​vitamin​ ​C​ ​is helpful​ ​in​ ​combating​ ​stress.​

​It's​ ​best​ ​to​ ​have​ ​a​ ​variety​ ​of​ ​fruits​ ​and vegetables​ ​every​ ​day.​ ​Also​ ​adding​ ​fresh​ ​fruits​ ​to​ ​your​ ​favourite recipes​ ​helps​ ​maintain​ ​balance​ ​in​ ​nutrients​ ​and​ ​taste.​ ​

For​ ​instance,​ ​if you​ ​crave​ ​to​ ​have​ ​​rainbow​ ​waffles​​ ​for​ ​your​ ​breakfast​ ​then​ ​try​ ​making it​ ​with​ ​whole​ ​wheat​ ​flour​ ​and​ ​have​ ​it​ ​with​ ​loads​ ​of​ ​fruits​ ​that​ ​help​ ​in producing​ ​serotonin,​ ​and​ ​a​ ​glass​ ​of​ ​milk. 


​3. Fatty​ ​fish:​​ ​Fatty​ ​fishes,​ ​like​ ​Salmon,​ ​Tuna,​ ​Sardines​ ​are​ ​rich​ ​in omega​ ​3s,​ ​a​ ​nutrient​ ​that​ ​our​ ​bodies​ ​don't​ ​produce​ ​naturally​ ​and​ ​are hard​ ​to​ ​find​ ​in​ ​vegetarian​ ​diets.​ ​

fish

Omega​ ​3s​ ​helps​ ​in​ ​the​ ​production​ ​of mood-enhancing​ ​chemicals​ ​like​ ​Serotonin.​ ​As​ ​stated​ ​above​ ​the​ ​low level​ ​of​ ​serotonin​ ​can​ ​be​ ​linked​ ​to​ ​anxiety​ ​and​ ​depression.​ ​Thus having​ ​fatty​ ​fish​ ​can​ ​help​ ​combat​ ​depression.​

​People​ ​on​ ​vegetarian diets​ ​should​ ​consult​ ​their​ ​doctors​ ​if​ ​they​ ​require​ ​omega-3 supplements.


​4. Dark​ ​chocolate:​​ ​Most​ ​of​ ​us​ ​tend​ ​to​ ​love​ ​chocolates,​ ​now​ ​there​ ​is​ ​all the​ ​more​ ​reason,​ ​backed​ ​by​ ​science,​ ​to​ ​snack​ ​on​ ​it​ ​in​ ​moderation ​if you​ ​are​ ​feeling​ ​low.

dark chocolate

​​Dark​ ​chocolate​ ​has​ ​some​ ​remarkable​ ​health benefits​.​ ​It​ ​is​ ​a​ ​rich​ ​source​ ​of​ ​two​ ​important​ ​antioxidants-​ ​polyphenols and​ ​flavonols.​ ​

These​ ​two​ ​antioxidants​ ​are​ ​known​ ​to​ ​reduce​ ​the​ ​stress hormone-​ ​cortisol.​ ​

These​ ​antioxidants​ ​also​ ​help​ ​to​ ​lower​ ​the​ ​blood pressure​ ​making​ ​us​ ​feel​ ​calm.​ ​

Some​ ​studies​ ​also​ ​confirm​ ​that​ ​dark chocolate​ ​helps​ ​to​ ​release​ ​serotonin.​ ​

So,​ ​dark​ ​chocolate​ ​is​ ​an amazing​ ​food​ ​to​ ​fight​ ​depression,​ ​just​ ​remember​ ​that​ ​it​ ​is​ ​high​ ​in calorie​ ​too​ ​and​ ​can​ ​add​ ​to​ ​extra​ ​pounds​ ​in​ ​a​ ​few​ ​weeks.​ ​

Experts recommend​ ​not​ ​more​ ​than​ ​1.4​ ​ounces​ ​per​ ​day.


5. Cheese:​ ​​All​ ​kinds​ ​of​ ​Cheese,​ ​namely​ ​cheddar,​ ​parmesan,​ ​swiss, fontina,​ ​gouda,​ ​and​ ​mozzarella​ ​contain ​tryptophan,​ ​an​ ​amino​ ​acid that​ ​is​ ​known​ ​to​ ​enhance​ ​brain​ ​functions​ ​and​ ​serotonin​ ​production.

cheese

Having​ ​foods​ ​rich​ ​in​ ​tryptophan​ ​helps​ ​in​ ​raising​ ​the​ ​serotonin​ ​levels and​ ​in​ ​turn​ ​helps​ ​in​ ​boosting​ ​the​ ​mood.


​6. Tea​ ​(Black,Green,oolong)​ ​​:​ ​According​ ​to​ ​a​ ​study​ ​published​ ​in Pubmed​ ​Health​,​ ​tea​ ​is​ ​associated​ ​with​ ​a​ ​lower​ ​risk​ ​of​ ​depression.​ ​

tea

Tea is​ ​incredibly​ ​rich​ ​in​ ​antioxidants​ ​and​ ​contains​ ​an​ ​amino​ ​acid​ ​known​ ​as L​ ​theanine.​ ​

According​ ​to​ ​the​ ​studies,​ ​it​ ​is​ ​shown​ ​to​ ​stimulate​ ​the production​ ​of​ ​brain​ ​waves​ ​called​ ​alpha​ ​waves,​ ​the​ ​waves​ ​seen​ ​when a​ ​person​ ​is​ ​in​ ​a​ ​relaxed​ ​state.​ ​

It​ ​also​ ​helps​ ​to​ ​increase​ ​the​ ​levels​ ​of serotonin​ ​and​ ​dopamine-​ ​neurotransmitters​ ​in​ ​the​ ​brain​ ​that​ ​can affect​ ​the​ ​mood.​ ​

Experts​ ​recommend​ ​having​ ​3-4​ ​cups​ ​of​ ​green,black or​ ​oolong​ ​tea​ ​to​ ​de​ ​stress​ ​and​ ​enhance​ ​your​ ​mood.


​7. Red​ ​wine:​ ​​It​ ​is​ ​a​ ​well​ ​known​ ​fact​ ​that​ ​having​ ​​red​ ​wine​​ ​in​ ​moderation is​ ​supposed​ ​to​ ​be​ ​good​ ​for​ ​our​ ​health​ ​but​ ​now,​ ​a​ ​study​ ​published​ ​in the​ ​journal​ ​​BMC​ ​Medicine​​ ​suggest​s ​that​ ​it​ ​may​ ​also​ ​reduce​ ​the​ ​risk​ ​of depression.​ ​

red wine

Red​ ​wine​ ​contains​ ​antioxidants​ ​called​ ​polyphenols​ ​which are​ ​known​ ​to​ ​have​ ​a​ ​positive​ ​effect​ ​on​ ​the​ ​heart.​ ​

It​ ​also​ ​contains resveratrol-​ ​a​ ​substance​ ​which​ ​lowers​ ​the​ ​risk​ ​of​ ​inflammation​ ​and damage​ ​to​ ​blood​ ​vessels.​

​Healthy​ ​heart​ ​lowers​ ​the​ ​risk​ ​of​ ​depression.

However,​ ​this​ ​does​ ​not​ ​mean​ ​if​ ​you​ ​are​ ​a​ ​non​ ​drinker​ ​you​ ​should​ ​start drinking,​ ​but​ ​it​ ​means​ ​that​ ​if​ ​you​ ​drink​ ​you​ ​can​ ​enjoy​ ​an​ ​occasional glass​ ​or​ ​two​ ​of​ ​red​ ​wine​ ​with​ ​your​ ​food​ ​to​ ​fight​ ​depression.


8. Whole​ ​grains:​ ​​Healthy,​ ​high​ ​fiber​ ​carbohydrates​ ​are​ ​found​ ​in​ ​whole grains​ ​such​ ​as​ ​oats,​ ​quinoa,​ ​brown​ ​rice,​ ​whole​ ​wheat​ ​bread​ ​etc.

whole grains

Complex​ ​Carbohydrates​ ​are​ ​very​ ​important,​ ​they​ ​give​ ​us​ ​energy​ ​and boosts​ ​our​ ​mood.​ ​

Researchers​ ​confirm​ ​that​ ​carbohydrates​ ​promote the​ ​production​ ​of​ ​serotonin.​

According to Debbie Mandel, a stress management expert and author of Addicted to Stress: “Whole grains, brown rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and whole wheat pasta are all good choices. They help the body release serotonin.”


​9. Nuts​ ​and​ ​seeds:​​ ​All​ ​the​ ​nuts​ ​and​ ​seeds​ ​contain​ ​tryptophan.​

nuts

​Other than​ ​that,​ ​they​ ​are​ ​also​ ​rich​ ​in​ ​omega​ ​3​ ​fatty​ ​acids,​ ​fiber,​ ​vitamins, and​ ​antioxidants.​ ​

Deficiency​ ​of​ ​magnesium​ ​is​ ​correlated​ ​with depression​ ​and​ ​there's​ ​a​ ​good​ ​reason​ ​to​ ​have​ ​cashews​ ​as​ ​they​ ​are one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​richest​ ​sources​ ​of​ ​magnesium.​ ​

Walnuts​ ​along​ ​with magnesium​ ​are​ ​also​ ​rich​ ​in​ ​essential​ ​omega​ ​fats​ ​and​ ​contain polyphenols​ ​and​ ​antioxidants,​ ​which​ ​are​ ​known​ ​to​ ​improve​ ​and maintain​ ​the​ ​health​ ​of​ ​the​ ​brain.

Brazil​ ​nuts​ ​are​ ​full​ ​of​ ​selenium,​ ​which​ ​as​ ​studies​ ​suggest,​ ​can​ ​have mood-enhancing​ ​effects.​ ​

This​ ​mineral​ ​also​ ​helps​ ​the​ ​body​ ​maintain​ ​a healthy​ ​antioxidant​ ​balance​ ​for​ ​overall​ ​health​ ​and​ ​well-being.

Seeds​ ​like​ ​sunflower​ ​seeds,​ ​pumpkin​ ​seeds,​ ​chia​ ​seeds​ ​are​ ​also​ ​very beneficial.​

​Chia​ ​seeds​ ​are​ ​supposed​ ​to​ ​be​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​healthiest​ ​seeds available.​ ​They​ ​are​ ​loaded​ ​with​ ​antioxidants​ ​and​ ​omega​ ​3​ ​fatty​ ​acids.​

It​ ​is​ ​also​ ​a​ ​rich​ ​source​ ​of​ ​magnesium​ ​along​ ​with​ ​many​ ​other​ ​healthy nutrients.​

​Antioxidants,​ ​omega​ ​3​ ​and​ ​magnesium​ ​play​ ​an​ ​important role​ ​in​ ​the​ ​overall​ ​health​ ​of​ ​the​ ​brain.​ ​Having​ ​a​ ​handful​ ​of​ ​various​ ​nuts and​ ​seeds​ ​every​ ​day​ ​can​ ​help​ ​fight​ ​depression.


Depressions​ ​affect​ ​men,​ ​women,​ ​and​ ​children​ ​in​ ​different​ ​ways.

Don't​ ​be​ ​shy​ ​or​ ​afraid​ ​of​ ​it,​ ​just​ ​know​ ​that​ ​you​ ​are​ ​not​ ​alone.​ ​

The​ ​first​ ​step towards​ ​getting​ ​better​ ​is​ ​to​ ​know​ ​that​ ​it​ ​is​ ​fully​ ​curable​ ​no​ ​matter​ ​how​ ​bad it​ ​is.  

If​ ​you​ ​think​ ​you​ ​may​ ​have​ ​depression​ ​start​ ​by​ ​making​ ​an​ ​appointment​ ​with your​ ​doctor​ ​and​ ​simultaneously​ ​making​ ​the​ ​above-mentioned​ ​changes​ ​in your​ ​lifestyle. 


​About the author

Carmen can be found writing, designing and developing all sorts of great content. She is an avid reader and is currently associated with truecorset.co.uk


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​Photo by Sambazon on Unsplash, Photo by Taylor Kiser on Unsplash, Photo by Jakub Kapusnak on Unsplash, 

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash, Photo by Michał Grosicki on Unsplash, Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse on Unsplash, Photo by Sabri Tuzcu on Unsplash, Photo by Roberta Sorge on Unsplash, Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash





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I am an enthusiast of meditation and contemplation. I also like listening to brainwave entrainment music. In my view it's really effective. I hope you'll find something interesting on this blog.

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