Foods to prevent or help with depression

Foods to Stop Depression

Depression, also known as clinical depression or major depression, is a psychiatric condition that affects moods, thoughts and behavior. Common symptoms include elongated bouts of sadness or lack of purpose, physical aches, sleep difficulties and uncontrollable crying. Several treatment options are available, such as counseling or medication. Eating certain foods may also help prevent or reduce symptoms of depression.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables provide the body with an array of beneficial nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and dietary fiber. According to the Mayo Clinic, a nutritious, fiber-rich diet based on foods such as fruits and vegetables might substantially reduce the risk for depression. To improve depressive symptoms, incorporate a variety of colorful, fresh fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. Fruits and vegetables deepest in color tend to offer the most nutritional value, so consume berries, citrus fruits, bananas, melon, tomatoes, leafy greens, broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts and colorful peppers in particular. Fruits and vegetables are low in calories yet high in nutrients and fiber, thus can help in weight management and reduce risk for other diseases, such as heart disease.

Vitamin B-rich Foods

B vitamins, also known as B complex vitamins, are a group of water soluble vitamins present in some foods and added to others that aid in the breakdown of food during digestion. According to natural health expert, Dr. Andrew Weil, B vitamins, B6 and folic acid in particular, contribute to mood balance and can help treat depression. Vitamin B6 is found in foods such as fortified cereals, potatoes, bananas, garbanzo beans, chicken breast, pork, roast beef, trout, sunflower seed, peanut butter and spinach. Folate, or folic acid, can be found in fortified cereals, beef liver, spinach, northern beans, asparagus, rice, spinach, broccoli and peas. Consume a variety of vitamin B-rich foods regularly for best potential results.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy, essential fats the body can’t produce on its own. Weil suggests omega-3 fats as a means of creating a healthy state of mind and improve both physical and emotional wellness for those with depression. Omega-3 fats are found in fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, mackerel and sardines. Additional valuable sources include ground flax seed, flax seed oil, walnuts, walnut oil and canola oil. Since fat aids in nutrient absorption, consuming modest amounts of omega-3s in addition to meals that include nutritious foods such as fruit, grains and vegetables, can further enhance nutritional wellness. The American Heart Association recommends consuming 3-oz. of fish at least twice per week for optimum health.

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