Clinical depression is a mental health disorder that affects millions of people every year. It can cause feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness that can be difficult to overcome. It can interfere with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and enjoy life. While there are many treatments available for depression, some people may also benefit from making dietary changes. Here are eight foods that can help improve your mood and alleviate symptoms of depression:
1. Fermented foods
Fermented foods, such as yogurt and sauerkraut, contain probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria that have been shown to improve mental health by reducing inflammation in the body and improving mood. Additionally, these foods are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are also linked to improved mental health.
2. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are compounds that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. These natural compounds have also been shown to act as antidepressants by increasing levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine—also known as the “happiness hormones”—in the brain.
3. Spinach and Swiss chard
Spinach and Swiss chard are leafy green vegetables that are high in folate. Folate is a water-soluble vitamin that helps the body produce neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that play a role in mood regulation. As such, increasing folate intake can help increase the body’s production of serotonin and dopamine, helping to alleviate symptoms of depression.
Egg yolks contain choline, which helps to improve memory and cognitive function, both of which can be impaired by depression. Additionally, egg yolks contain tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin in the body, potentially improving mood.
5. Cruciferous veggies
Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cabbage, contain sulforaphane. This compound has been shown to improve symptoms of anxiety and depression by reducing inflammation in the brain.
6. Beans and lentils
Beans and lentils are good sources of folate, a nutrient that helps to produce neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which are important for mood regulation. In addition, beans and lentils are high in fiber and protein, both of which can help to stabilize blood sugar levels and promote feelings of fullness.
Oysters are a rich source of zinc, a mineral that plays an important role in brain function and mood regulation. Zinc deficiency has been linked to depression, so getting enough of this nutrient is essential for maintaining mental health.
8. Brazil nuts
Brazil nuts are a good source of selenium, a mineral that plays a role in thyroid function. Depression has been linked to an imbalance in thyroid hormones, so getting enough selenium is also essential for maintaining mental health.
These are just a few examples of foods that can help improve your mood and reduce symptoms of depression. If you are struggling with depression, it is important to talk to your doctor or a mental health professional about treatment options, such as online counseling or online therapy. Making dietary changes can be a helpful addition to other forms of treatment, but it is not a replacement for professional care.