Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

Fighting Depression: The Right Diet Can Make a Difference

Many people are surprised to learn diet plays an integral role in mood. Although there is no specific diet for depression, eating some foods and avoiding others can help people fight the symptoms of depression. More and more researchers are discovering the importance of a healthy diet in addition to other therapies.  

What Foods Help Depression? 

Some foods help depression more than others. Incorporating these foods can lead to reduced symptoms and improved mood for many people. Like any depression treatment, it takes time to see results. Most people will begin to notice changes in about a month.  


Free radicals lead to cellular damage, with the brain cells, particularly, at risk. Although free radical production can never be stopped, eating foods rich in antioxidants helps destroy them and prevent oxidative damage. Antioxidants include beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Consider adding the following foods to your diet to help increase antioxidants and possibly improve depression symptoms.  

  • Apricots
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Collards
  • Blueberries
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Oranges
  • Peppers


There are a host of other fruits and vegetables that are rich sources of antioxidants. Eating these raw helps to conserve the antioxidants and allows the body to use them more effectively.  


Carbohydrates, especially smart ones, can lead to a feeling of overall calmness. Limit sugary carbs and opt for legumes, fruits, and vegetables because they contain a lot of fiber that is beneficial to the body.  


Proteins are extremely essential for boosting alertness and helping the mind function more effectively. Some protein sources, like turkey, tuna, and chicken, contain an amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan helps your body make serotonin, which is crucial for sleep, mood, digestion, sexual desire, blood clotting, and more.  

Other good sources of healthy proteins include beans, peas, lean beef, fish, poultry, yogurt, and milk. Try eating a healthy protein source a few times a day to boost energy and clear your mind. 

B Vitamins 

Many people do not realize how a lack of B vitamins can impact their mental health. Depression tends to rise, especially in men, when there is a lack of folate. Following a Mediterranean diet helps to ease the symptoms of depression and keep them at bay. You can find vitamin B in lean meats, legumes, nuts, fruits, and dark, leafy vegetables.   

Vitamin D 

Vitamin D is another critical vitamin for depression prevention. People are developing low vitamin D levels because of a lack of time spent in the sun. During the spring and summer, it is easier for people to get adequate amounts of vitamin D so they are less likely to experience depression.  


Reduced selenium has a direct effect on mood. Adults should aim for around 55 mg a day of selenium to protect against depression. Good sources include beans, lean meat, oysters, nuts and seeds, and whole grains.  

Change Your Diet and See Improved Depression Symptoms 

Changing your diet overnight is not easy and may even be impossible. Gradually changing their diets can help depression sufferers begin to feel more healthy mentally. In addition to adding the foods above, individuals should consider foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids. Fatty fish is an excellent source of this key vitamin that keeps depression symptoms at bay.  

Those suffering from depression should learn about their diet options through doctors and nutritionists. Making minor changes can bring about welcome results.  


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