A balanced and healthy diet is not only beneficial for the health of the body. As the old saying goes, “you are what you eat”. The foods we eat also affect our emotional state. Several foods fight depression that we can add to our daily menu.
First, answer the following questions. How is your food? Do you consume fresh and natural foods or are you eating a lot of processed food, fried foods, and sweets? If the answer to the second question got bigger, it’s time to look for healthy meals.
How Can Depression-fighting Foods Help?
One of the most common symptoms of depression is fatigue. Excessive tiredness makes it impossible for the depressed person to complete daily tasks or seek pleasurable activities. However, a balanced diet provides a series of benefits that fight discouragement and loss of energy.
Eating, in addition to being necessary for our survival, is a way of obtaining pleasure. The consumption of antidepressant foods accelerates the production of serotonin and dopamine, responsible for a feeling of momentary pleasure.
Another positive aspect of maintaining a balanced diet is the health of the intestinal flora, made up of microorganisms and “good bacteria” in the digestive system. It is these bacteria that regulate bowel functions and mood. More than half of the serotonin available in the body is found in the intestine.
When the intestinal flora is imbalanced, the harmful microorganisms present in the intestine multiply, and irritability increases.
Many patients with depression or anxiety also have gastrointestinal illnesses, such as gastritis Nervosa or ulcers. An unbalanced diet is one of the factors that contribute to this problem. The treatment of these diseases already contributes to the improvement of depression.
Best Foods That Help Fight Depression
Foods that fight depression are diverse. Analyze your current eating habits to introduce more and more servings and units of these healthy foods.
1. Green Flowers
Dark green vegetables (spinach, broccoli, and lettuce) are foods rich in folate. This vitamin present in the B complex is linked to the prevention of mental disorders, including depression, according to research. In addition, in lettuce, there are several substances in the leaf stalks, mainly lactucin and lactucopicrin, which act as natural tranquilizers.
Rich in vitamin C, orange ensures the proper functioning of the nervous system and fights fatigue with a good dose of energy. Vitamin C inhibits the release of cortisol, the well-known stress hormone.
Try to eat watermelon, avocado, papaya, banana, and lemon. These fruits have the amino acid tryptophan, which helps in the production of serotonin. Consumption of three to five servings of fruit daily is the most recommended. To make it easier to eat, you can make fruit salads to consume throughout the week.
It helps in the production of serotonin, responsible, as we already know, for a good mood. Two spoons a day is enough to start feeling the positive effects of honey. Also, you can add them to dessert, fruit, or drinks.
5. Skimmed Milk and Yogurt
They are excellent sources of calcium. This mineral eliminates tension and fights depression as it reduces and controls nervousness and irritability. So, two to three servings a day are enough.
It is not recommended for people with an easily irritated stomach. Therefore, people with lactose intolerance, even when consuming products suitable for their diet, can still experience complications when consuming milk.
6. Complex Carbohydrates
Sweet potatoes, lentils, beans, whole grain bread, and brown rice are some examples of complex carbohydrates. The difference between these carbohydrates and those considered simple is the form of digestion. As this process is slower, it causes a gradual increase in blood glucose. The organism then feels satiated and provides energy for a long time.
In addition, they help the body to absorb tryptophan, stimulating the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Although carbohydrate is the number one enemy of diets, it is recommended to eat a small amount daily.
7. Oats and Rye
In addition to having a good amount of B vitamins and vitamin E, they improve the functioning of the intestine, also fighting anxiety and depression. It is recommended to take three tablespoons a day. You can mix it in vitamins, green juice, and shake, or eat it with fruits.
In several studies of foods that fight depression, omega-3 is often cited. That’s because omega-3 fatty acids provide a variety of neurochemical activities: they modulate the reuptake, degradation, and synthesis of neurotransmitters (noradrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin) and receptor binding; anti-inflammatory effects; and enhancement of cell membrane fluidity and neurogenesis.
To combat the lack of energy caused by depression, start consuming more soy. This food plays a key role in providing energy to cells and has calming properties that fight anxiety and nervousness.