21 Diet Tips For People With Depression


Hundreds of millions of people around the world suffer from depression. And believe it or not, what you eat and how you treat your body can have a great effect on how you are able to deal with your depression. Here are diet tips that every person battling depression should take note of.

1. Eat More Essential Omega 3 Fats

Studies have shown that omega 3 fats are incredibly important for people who are depressed. According to just about every study that was done on the subject and all of the research that has been compiled, there is no doubt that eating a lot of foods that contain omega 3 fats can definitely help to improve your mood.

So what type of foods contain these essential fats? The answer is pretty simple. You should be eating a lot of fish. The absolute best fish to eat for omega 3 fats is mackerel. But the good thing about it is that there are many different types of fish that can help provide you with omega 3 fats, so your choices are definitely not limited and you can mix it up a lot so that you never get bored with eating the same exact thing all the time. Some other fish that you should include in your regular diet include sardines, herring, anchovy, salmon, trout and fresh tuna.


2. Get Enough B Vitamins

If you are depressed, one factor that could be leading to how you feel is the fact that you have a vitamin B deficiency. One way to find out whether or not this is the case for you is by getting your homocysteine levels tested, which can be done with a home kit that you can purchase at the pharmacy.

If your level is above 9mmol/1, you are going to not only get more vitamin B, but also folic acid and zinc. Thankfully, getting vitamin B levels up is pretty easy because you have tons of food options that can help you out. Whole grains are perfect for people with depression, as are beans, fruits and vegetables.

Of course, you are going to have to eat meat as well, because that’s the only way you’re going to get the B12 vitamins you need. Once again, eating fish is a great option.


3. Get Some Amino Acid 5-HTP Supplements

If you are low on serotonin, this is another thing that can lead to depression and be directly related to your issues. It is again advised that people should take a test to see if they do have low serotonin levels, and if they do, they should start by taking about 100mg of Amino Acid 5-HTP supplements.

It’s best that you start by taking 50mg twice a day. If you can’t find the 5-HTP supplements, there is a possible solution for that as well. Instead of taking those supplements, you can take tryptophan, which is also an amino acid. However, you are going to have to take 500mg a day.

If you are taking these supplements, it’s best to take them on an empty stomach, or if you really have to eat, compliment them with a piece of fruit. That’s the best route to take for maximum absorption. However, it’s important to check with your doctor before taking these supplements if you are already on some type of anti-depressant.


4. Avoid Caffeine and Sugar

We know it’s hard, but staying away from caffeine and sugar really is the best choice for anyone who suffers from depression. When it comes to being healthy and developing a diet that is going to help you combat your depression, it is always best to try to stabilize your blood sugar levels. That’s one of the golden rules when it comes to using your diet and what you eat to help you fight your depression.

Many people believe that they can’t function without caffeine, but there really are better ways to stay alert and awake all day. One of the best recommendations is to eat regularly and in small portions. And if you are eating carbohydrates for energy, you need to stick to nothing but low GL carbs. Also, it’s important to combine these low GL carbs with foods that are high in protein, such as fresh fruits, nuts and cottage cheese, for example.


5. Add a Chromium Supplement

This is yet another supplement that is highly recommended for people with depression. However, you should be checking with your doctor before taking any type of supplement, and the same rule rings true for chromium. Generally, this supplement is recommended to people who suffer from what is referred to as “atypical depression.”

If you do suffer from this type of depression, studies have shown that 600mcg of chromium a day can be really effective. And if the supplement is really working for you, then you should be decreasing the amount you take month over month. For example, you can take two pills for breakfast and one with lunch to start.

And if that is working, then you can reduce the dosage to one at breakfast and one at lunch, and so on. Also, it’s important not to take chromium at night, because it can be a stimulant and might make it hard for you to fall asleep.


6. Get More Sun

Getting enough vitamin D is incredibly important when battling depression. As you probably know, there are conditions like seasonal affective disorder that are directly related to mood swings that are caused by changes in the weather and, more specifically and most commonly, a lack of sunshine.

However, you should be sensible when it comes to getting more sun. Of course, you shouldn’t be going to tanning salons and you shouldn’t be spending all day in the sweltering heat and risking sun burn. A national study in 2010 confirmed that people who have vitamin D deficiencies are a lot more likely to suffer from depression.

But you really need to be smart about it, because getting too much vitamin D is unhealthy as well. Too much vitamin D can lead to issues with your calcium levels, which can then lead to problems with your kidneys. So it’s really important to take in the sunrays sensibly.


7. Check for Food Intolerances

It is very common that depression is fueled by intolerances that people have to food that they might not even know about. If you suspect that this might be the case, there are two ways to go about it. One, the most obvious one, is to take an IgG ELISA blood test to see specific foods increase antibody levels in your blood.

Another way is to take out some types of foods from your diet little by little and see how the changes in diet affect you. Gluten, of course, is one of the most usual suspects these days when it comes to food intolerances. If you suspect that gluten is the problem, then you need to cut out the barley, wheat and rye from your diet. Other possible food intolerances are soya, yeast and dairy.

If you do find out that you have an intolerance to a certain type of food, if is very important to maintain a balances and healthy diet even when you do leave out the food types that you have issues with.


8. Nutrients, Nutrients, Nutrients

This basically means that you need to eat healthy food and that you need to eat a variety food that’s good for you. Getting all of your nutrients is incredibly important if you have issues with depression.

The facts are simple. The nutrients that are contained in food help your body run. That means that if you do not have all your nutrients coming in on a regular basis, your body is not going to be able to repair itself. So really, it is immensely important that people who suffer from depression make sure that they are following a very balances diet that includes every type of nutrient.

You are going to need healthy carbs, protein, vitamins and minerals. That’s pretty much a given. Really, you should even be included a small amount of fat in your diet as well. If you are excluding any of these important nutrients from your regime, then your body is not going to be performing at its best. Simple as that.


9. Eat More Food with Essential Antioxidants

Do you know what free radicals are? They are damaging molecules that are produces by the body every single day. In large amounts, these free radicals can lead to dysfunctions within the body and cell damage. It has been shown in research and studies that your brain is especially at risk from being damaged by free radicals.

And the best way to keep the free radicals at bay is by making sure that you are getting a lot of antioxidants. Antioxidants have been proven to help restrain these free radicals and essentially take away their powers. If you want antioxidants, that means you need beta-carotene and lots of vitamin C.

And don’t worry, there are plenty of tasty foods that can give you that. You can eat carrots, peaches, spinach or apricots for beta-carotene and blueberries, grapefruit, kiwi, oranges and peppers for vitamin C.


10. Eat “Smart” Carbs

A lot of people wrongfully assume that all carbs are out of the question for people who have issues with depression. But that is simply not true. Of course, you should not be eating simple carbs. However, that doesn’t mean that you should be shunning carbohydrates altogether.

There is definitely a connection between eating carbs and increases in serotonin, which is a chemical that can give your mood a boost. That means if you are depressed, there is a good chance that your body is craving carbs. So don’t tell your body that it can’t have them.

Instead, make smart choices and choose to eat complex carbs instead of simple carbs. Of course, you shouldn’t be eating cake and cookies when you crave carbs, you should be sticking to healthy carb options like fruits, vegetables and legumes, which all offer the right kind of carbs and some fiber to go along with them.


11. Go Mediterranean

If you are looking for a diet and you really need some sort of plan, then there’s always the Mediterranean Diet, which a lot of doctors recommend for people who suffer from depression. It won’t tell you anything you don’t already know about what you should eat if you have depression, but it’s a great way to follow a plan and find some excellent recipes for eating the right way when you are battling depression.

The Mediterranean diet is nothing revolutionary, it’s simply a diet that will allow you to develop very healthy eating habits that will include all of the essential foods that can help you battle depression, like fish, cereals, vegetables, fruits and nuts.

A study was performed in Spain, which showed that people with unhealthy eating habits are more prone to depression. This diet was then created to help people eat better in order to battle depression. Check it out, there are tons of great recipes available online.


12. Eat Selenium-Rich Foods

One of the most important minerals when it comes to maintaining good health is definitely selenium. Studies have been performed that show that people who do not get enough selenium are more prone to experiencing poorer moods and there has been research done that shows that people experience better moods when they are taking in more selenium, which really makes it a no-brainer when it comes to battling depression.

However, don’t go overboard, because too much selenium can be toxic. If you are focusing on getting it from food rather than from supplements, then you are much safer. If you want to eat more foods that give you the selenium that you need, then you should be heavily focusing on beans and legumes. Also, eating Brazilian nuts, whole grains and low-fat dairy products is also a very good idea. And of course, seafood is great for selenium, especially oysters, clams and crab.


13. Get Enough Sleep

One of the reasons that doctors tell people with depression to stay away from coffee and caffeine in general is because caffeine can have a detrimental effect on getting the sleep you need to function properly.

Studies have shown that getting the right amount of sleep, which most experts say is at least eight hours a day, is imperative for people who suffer from mood-related issues. And if you really need caffeine and cannot function without it, then there needs to be a compromise. The best thing to do would be to make sure that you are not drinking anything that is caffeinated after noon.

And that is also why alcohol is not recommended. Basically, anything that can keep you from getting enough sleep is not recommended when you are suffering from depression. Battling depression effectively basically comes down to living a healthy lifestyle, and a healthy lifestyle cannot exist if you are not getting enough sleep. That’s the bottom line.


14. Exercise

Keeping your body active is just as important as getting enough sleep when it comes to keeping your depression in check and trying to battle it. It has been shown in many studies that exercising regularly leads to positive brain activity and the release of chemicals that are most associated with good moods and being happy.

Also, keeping your weight down is very important for people with depression. Not only has it been shown that overweight people are more prone to being depressed, but it has also been proven that people who have problems with their weight are much more likely to become depressed.

And when we are talking about exercise that does not mean that you need to be a gym rat. Walking around our neighborhood for 30 minutes every day is a good start. This is especially important for people who lead a very sedentary life, for example, people who have desk or computer jobs and sit for over eight hours a day.


15. Maintain a Healthy Weight

It’s incredibly important to stay healthy in just about every way if you want to fight depression the right way. Any professional will tell you that having a healthy body is the best way to have a healthy mind as well. Your weight it very important when it comes to depression.

The obvious reason is this. If you are overweight, there is a good chance that you have gained all of this weight because you are eating a lot of unhealthy food that is not conducive with battling depression. And as stated earlier, people who are obese are much more likely to be depressed.

Also, depression tends to lead to obesity. This is because many people eat when they are depressed. Comfort food is a very common thing for people who are depressed. They are in a bad mood and eating helps them to cope with it. But of course, that is not a healthy reaction to depression.


16. Eat Regularly

Not only should you be watching what you eat, you should be watching when you it and how you eat. One of the most important things when it comes to depression is to eat regularly. Starving yourself is not the way to go. Also, it is definitely not healthy to only eat once a day, for example, and overeat for that one meal.

To combat depression, you really need to be eating regularly. That means that you should never be skipping breakfast, because you are going to need that energy to face the day. And having energy to cope with your depression is one of the most important things you need for fighting it.

If you’re looking for a good breakfast option, make sure that it’s a balanced one, like some wholegrain cereal with bananas. If you are feeling hungry in between meals, the best healthy snack option is a piece of fruit.


17. Drink Lots of Water

Another important thing when it comes to battling depression is making sure that you are hydrated all the time. Many people underestimate how important water is, even people who don’t suffer from a mental illness like depression.

If you really intend on staying hydrated, then you have to drink at least a liter of fluid every single day. A lot of people don’t understand how many things dehydration affects. And one of them is mood. It has been proven that even a mild level of dehydration can have a serious effect on your mood.

If you are feeling as if you don’t have enough energy and you feel lightheaded as well, then there is a good chance that you are not drinking enough water. One of the best things that you can do is to have a bottle of water with you at all times and learn how to make drinking water regularly becomes a habit.


18. Stay Away from Alcohol

Some people say that you can drink alcohol when you have issues with depression, but you should be staying within the recommended daily limits for drinking alcoholic beverages. However, it would be best not to drink alcohol at all if you can do that.

Men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week. Use our alcohol unit calculator to find out how many units there are in different types of alcoholic drinks. Don’t drink alcohol if you’re taking antidepressants.

When you make changes to your diet, set yourself realistic and achievable goals. Lynn warns against crash or miracle diets that might not be nutritionally balanced. Instead, make moderate changes. If you want to make major changes to your diet, see your GP, who can refer you to a registered dietitian.


19. Avoid High Calorie, Low Nutrient Foods

This is another no-brainer, really. We have stated several times, but it can’t be stressed enough – Healthy eating is the best way to battle your depression.

That’s why you need to stay away from the calories and make sure that everything you eat is full of nutrients. So what shouldn’t you eat? Well, to start, processed food and refined sugars should be completely dismissed from your diet if you have issues with depression.

Sure, these types of foods might give you a burst of energy for a short time, but the fall from this initial high is almost always severe, especially in terms of mood. It’s one of those crash and burn type feelings where you are high on life for a while and then miserable for the rest of the night. Eating often and eating healthy will help you combat depression by not only increasing your serotonin levels, but by also allowing you to sleep better and function on an even keel all day.


20. Eat Dark Chocolate

It might sound like you’re not allowed to have any fun or enjoyment with the food you eat if you are suffering from depression, but that’s not so. You can enjoy tasty snacks, because there are sweets that can actually help you to fight your depression. One of them is dark chocolate. If you want to have a sweet treat that is going to boost your mood, you can’t really go wrong with dark chocolate.

Some people don’t like dark chocolate. It’s a bit of an acquired taste because it’s a bit bitterer than regular chocolate. But once you get used to it you’ll love it, because it’s chocolate and, above all, it’s extremely healthy and it can improve your mood greatly. As most people know already, dark chocolate has a lot of cacao in it. Cacao is great for you because it helps you to sleep better and it also helps relieve physical pain. Studies have shown also that cacao intake simple makes you happier, which of course is idea for people with depression.


21. Switch to Low-Fat Dairy

Some people wrongly assume that if you suffer from depression, you have to clear all of the dairy products out of your diet. But that’s not so. You can still enjoy dairy products, just make sure that they are low-fat dairy products. So you might not be able to drink the whole milk that you are used to, but you will be able to drink skim milk and be find.

Low fat cheeses are also highly recommended for people who suffer from depression. Even though it is not recommended to eat dairy products that are high in fat, even low-fat dairy products are a fantastic source of vitamin D and protein as well.

And as you have probably already learned, both vitamin D and protein are incredibly important when it comes to battling depression. Low-fat dairy gives you calcium, vitamin D and also a specific type of proteins, called peptides, that induce a sense of relaxation and happiness, which is essential for people who are suffering with depression.

Continue Reading

From Around The Web

Popular on Diet.st