Depression is fairly common, affecting about one in 10 people at some point during their life. It affects men and women, young and old. Studies have shown that about 4% of children aged 5 to 16 in the UK are anxious or depressed.
Depression is more than simply feeling unhappy or fed up for a few days.
Most people go through periods of feeling down, but when you’re depressed you feel persistently sad for weeks or months, rather than just a few days.
Some people think depression is trivial and not a genuine health condition. They’re wrong – it is a real illness with real symptoms. Depression is not a sign of weakness or something you can “snap out of” by “pulling yourself together”.
The good news is that with the right treatment and support, most people with depression can make a full recovery.
Here is a list of foods that you could implement into your diet, to ensure you give yourself the best chance of fighting it off.
1. Green Tea
Tea consumption, especially green tea, is associated with a significantly reduced risk for depression. Bursting with antioxidants and amino acids, green tea can help you overcome depression in a natural way.
Enjoy 3 to 4 cups of green tea daily to help lift your mood and improve your overall health as well.
Another good food for fighting depression is almonds, mainly due to their high magnesium content. Magnesium influences production of serotonin, a “feel-good” brain chemical. This mineral also affects overall energy production.
In fact, a low magnesium level in the body is linked to depression and other mood disorders.
Additionally, almonds are a good source of zinc, a mineral that can protect brain cells from free-radical damage and boost neurotransmitter production and functioning
Cold-water fish like salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight depression.
People with depression usually have low intake of omega-3 fatty acids, which support normal brain functioning by reducing inflammation.
Along with salmon, other cold-water fish like tuna, sardines and anchovies are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
4. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate may increase serotonin levels in the body, which has qualities nearly identical to antidepressants. Also, it contains carbohydrates in the form of sugar, which signals the body to produce more serotonin.
In addition, dark chocolate slows down the production of stress hormones, which in turn reduces anxiety.
Dark chocolate consumption may even reduce the effects of chronic fatigue syndrome, due to its flavonoid content.
This popular breakfast food packed with protein and other nutrients is another effective food for fighting depression.
Eggs are a good source of zinc, an essential micronutrient that is needed by the body to boost neurotransmitter production and functioning.
By eating foods rich in zinc like eggs, you can fight zinc deficiency as well as depression and possibly other disorders.
Along with zinc, eggs are one of the few foods that contain vitamin D, the deficiency of which is linked to depression and other mental health problems.
Bananas contain high amounts of tryptophan, which is known for raising the body’s serotonin level. This is just one mood-boosting component in bananas.
Also, it aids in producing tyrosine, the building block for norepinephrine and dopamine, two important neurotransmitters that can influence mood.
Additionally, bananas provide vitamin B6, which your body needs to manufacture serotonin from tryptophan.
They also contain four other B vitamins: thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3) and folate (B9).
Insomnia, another common symptom of depression, can be treated with bananas. The tryptophan in them can help you fall asleep more easily.
The high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in avocados make them an awesome choice for people suffering from depression.
Avocados also contain potassium, which is important for mental health and brain function. It aids transporting serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes feelings of well-being and happiness. In fact, a low potassium level can contribute to confusion, mood swings and depression.
Blueberries are full of antioxidants that support proper brain functioning and improve cognitive function. They are very effective against depression.
Eating blueberries can also trigger the growth of new brain cells. In fact, the flavonoids found in blueberries help dopamine neurons in the brain survive much longer.
Also, blueberries contain mood-boosting nutrients like B-complex as well as selenium, zinc and potassium. All these nutrients have a positive effect on neurologic and brain health.
When it comes to foods for fighting depression, dark leafy greens like spinach cannot be ignored.
Spinach is filled with nutrients, such as folic acid, magnesium, and zinc, which are important for brain health and fighting depression symptoms. These nutrients also ensure the proper functioning of the nerves and muscles.
Folic acid elevates a low mood and reduces fatigue. In fact, people who have low folic acid in the body are likely to experience depression symptoms, such as fatigue and apathy.
This versatile green veggie is also beneficial for people suffering from depression. Asparagus helps raise low folic acid levels that are linked to depression.