Depression Help Tip #4
Eat a healthy, mood-boosting diet
What you eat has a direct impact on the way you feel. Aim for a balanced diet of protein, complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables.
- Don’t neglect breakfast. A solid breakfast provides energy for the day.
- Don’t skip meals. Going too long between meals can make you feel irritable and tired, so aim to eat something at least every 3-4 hours.
- Minimize sugar and refined carbs. You may crave sugary snacks, baked goods, or comfort foods such as pasta or french fries. But these “feel-good” foods quickly lead to a crash in mood and energy.
- Focus on complex carbohydrates. Foods such as baked potatoes, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain breads, and bananas can boost serotonin levels without a crash.
- Boost your B vitamins. Deficiencies in B vitamins such as folic acid and B-12 can trigger depression. To get more, take a B-complex vitamin supplement or eat more citrus fruit, leafy greens, beans, chicken, and eggs.
- Consider taking a chromium supplement – Some depression studies show that chromium picolinate reduces carbohydrate cravings, eases mood swings, and boosts energy. Supplementing with chromium picolinate is especially effective for people who tend to overeat and oversleep when depressed. Aim for 600 mcg per day.
- Practice mindful eating. Slow down and pay attention to the full experience of eating. Enjoy the taste of your food
Omega-3 fatty acids play an essential role in stabilizing mood.
- Foods rich in certain omega-3 fats called EPA and DHA can give your mood a big boost. The best sources are fatty fish such salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and some cold water fish oil supplements. Canned albacore tuna and lake trout can also be good sources depending on how the fish were raised and processed.
- You may hear a lot about getting your omega-3’s from foods rich in ALA fatty acids. Main sources are vegetable oils and nuts (especially walnuts), flax, soybeans, and tofu. Be aware that our bodies generally convert very little ALA into EPA and DHA, so they may not be as big of a benefit.
Some people avoid seafood because they worry about mercury or other possible toxins. But most experts agree that the benefits of eating 2 servings a week of cold water fatty fish outweigh the risks.