Depression is defined as a low mood that persists over a long period of time, affecting every aspect of everyday life. Mild cases of depression may not stop you from leading a normal life, but a low spirit can make everyday activities more challenging and less worthwhile. More severely, depression can be life-threatening and leave people feeling helpless, suicidal, and losing the will and strength to live.
This condition is hugely complex and characterized by many different factors. While making healthy diet and lifestyle choices is certainly not going to cure or prevent depression, findings from a recent study carried out by Manchester University have added weight to the evidence that adopting healthy habits may improve the symptoms associated with the condition.
Ways to Overcome Depression
If you’re at a low ebb, nutritionists have revealed some of the top feel-good foods that can help to reduce symptoms of depression, as well as what to avoid if you are prone to low mood. The top foods to add to your diet to boost your mood include egg yolks, fatty fish, and dark chocolate, while people with depression are urged to limit their intake of caffeine and processed food.
Although the recommended foods are not a medical cure for depression, experts argue that the nutrients and minerals within them can help to bolster your spirits.
Dark Chocolate Can Improve Hormone Balance:
Registered nutritionist Julie Hodgson explained that dark chocolate is rich in magnesium, which can calm the nervous system. The health and wellbeing coach added other foods that have a similar impact including avocados, almonds, cashew nuts, pumpkin seeds, and kale.
She recommended: ‘Eat magnesium-rich foods such as avocados, dark chocolate, almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, kale, spinach, and legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, and beans. ‘Magnesium is needed for hundreds of chemical reactions in the body including those important in mental health. It may improve hormone balance associated with low mood and is particularly beneficial for calming the nervous system and relaxing the mind.’
Fatty Fish, Nuts, and Plant Oils:
Oily fish is a great food to add to your diet as it provides the body with many good fats that help the heart, lungs, and circulation. Louise Wilcockson, who runs Nu Yu Fitness in Windsor, said fatty fish like mackerel and salmon can also help to ease symptoms of depression.
As well as oily fish, the nutritionist said nuts, seeds, and plant oils also have the same benefits because they all contain omega-3 fatty acids. She explained: ‘These provide the building blocks for healthy brain development and function.
Eat More Egg Yolks:
Egg yolks unexpectedly also have benefits for easing the symptoms of depression because they are rich in vitamin D, which has links with depression and brain functioning. Louise Wilcockson said oily fish, red meats, and fortified breakfast cereals, which are cereals containing added vitamins and minerals, are also rich in vitamin D.
The personal trainer added: ‘Deficiency in this vitamin [D] is sometimes associated with depression and other mood disorders. ‘Aside from these food sources, the best source of vitamin D comes from the sun so aim to get outside for at least 20 minutes every day for some mood-boosting activity and that much-needed vitamin boost.’
Selenium Can Prevent Depression:
Selenium, which is an antioxidant and mineral, is known for playing an important role in the health of the immune system. But one nutrition coach argued that foods that are rich in selenium, for example, cod, brazil nuts, walnuts, and poultry, can also manage depression.
Louise Wilcockson explained that the essential mineral works alongside other nutrients to create an ‘antioxidant balance’ within our body’s cells. She continued: ‘These foods contain selenium which is an essential mineral. This means we can only get it from food. Selenium works with other nutrients to create antioxidant balance in our body’s cells.
Add Vitamin B To Your Diet:
Vitamins are extremely important for our health and immune system, and one nutrition coach claimed a vitamin B deficiency is also linked to depression. Louise Wilcockson recommended eating more meat, seafood, leafy green vegetables, and whole grains to prevent a deficiency in vitamin B.
She explained: ‘These foods are great sources of B vitamins. A deficiency in B vitamins (particularly B12) can be linked to depression. ‘A great way to get your B-vitamin hit is by blitzing a large handful of spinach and kale into a healthy breakfast smoothie, substituting white rice for wholegrain, or swapping out sugary breakfast cereals for porridge oats.’