One of the best ways to reduce the likelihood of depression is through nutrition.
The following are depression-fighting nutrients that can be obtained through a proper diet and/or supplementation (with medical supervision) by Dr. Pauline Jose.
LA-based Dr. Pauline Jose, the Medical Director at Proactive Health Labs, is a specialist in family medicine, and a clinical instructor at UCLA, Department of Family Medicine. Dr. Jose is an expert in making complex health and health-related topics easy-to-understand and easy for your audience to apply to their daily lives.
Here’s a list of important nutrients your mind needs to thrive:
The following explains benefits, as well as what foods you can find them in. Make sure you’re not deficient in any and stay hydrated with water.
- Magnesium: Several studies have shown an improvement in the severity of symptoms of depression when study participants were given 125-300 mg of magnesium with each meal and at bedtime. Foods containing magnesium include spinach, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, kefir, almonds, black beans, avocado, figs, dark chocolate and bananas.
- Chromium: Many studies have been done to assess the benefit of chromium picolinate in depression. One study showed that 70 percent of those who took 600 mcg of chromium picolinate had improvement in their depressive symptoms, including emotional stability. Foods high in chromium include broccoli, free range eggs, sweet potatoes, corn, oats and grass-fed beef.
- Iron: Decreased levels of iron can result in apathy, depression, and fatigue. Iron is also important for oxygenation of the brain and necessary for all its functions. Iron-rich foods include red meat, pork, poultry, seafoods, beans, spinach (and other leafy greens), peas, cherimoyas, and iron-fortified cereals.
- Selenium: Depression due to selenium deficiency has been established in at least five different studies. Depression may be the result of oxidative stress, which is why selenium may be helpful. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant. Overall, mood was also improved when selenium was given to those with depleted levels. Foods high in selenium include Brazil nuts, yellowfin tuna, halibut, sardines, and chicken.
- Zinc: This trace element is essential to the human body. It is involved in over 300 reactions in the body and is abundant in the brain. Zinc supplementation along with antidepressant therapy has been studied and has shown benefits. You can eat lamb, pumpkin seeds, grass fed beef, mushrooms, chickpeas, spinach, and chicken to get more zinc in your daily diet.
- Copper: This mineral is important in depression because it is a component of the enzymes that metabolize the brain chemicals that help you respond to stress, feel happy and be alert. These enzymes, and the associated chemicals, are responsible for the causes and treatment of anxiety and depression. Copper rich foods include sunflower seeds, lentils, almonds, dark chocolate, beef liver and asparagus.
- B Vitamins: Deficiencies in various vitamins, including B vitamins are reported to have a negative effect on the brain. There are a total of eight B vitamins. There is a wide range of foods containing B vitamins. If you are vegan or vegetarian, you have to be especially proactive about making sure you get enough B12 (which is mainly found in animal foods).
- Vitamin C: Various studies have suggested that depression may be a consequence of inadequate levels of vitamin C. It can usually be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables such as oranges, watermelon, green and red peppers, grapefruit, tomatoes, spinach, papaya, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage.
Being nutritionally balanced puts our bodies in the best position to manage or beat depression. And when you consider being physically active is another way to combat depression, being nutritionally sound enhances our ability to be physically active.
Be sure to move daily too. The benefits of daily exercise are exceptionally preventative and help elevate your mood naturally. Start with 15-minutes of brisk walking and increase it daily, while incorporating deep breathing. Use music to help pass the time. Your brain and body will benefit.
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