Depression is a common condition many will suffer from at least a mild form of it at one point in their lives. Prescription antidepressants are available, but these drugs come with a variety of unwanted side effects and many people opt for a more natural approach to treament. Apart from regular exercise, adequate sleep and stress management, food therapy can also help. Below are ten foods to help alleviate the blues.
Swiss chard is not as popular as other leafy greens, but it is excellent for dietary treatment of depression, being rich in magnesium. Many people are deficient in this, but it plays an important role in energy levels. One recent study found lower magnesium levels to be correlated with higher depression rates.
Sweet potatoes are rich in both beta-carotene and Vitamin B-6, which have been proven to play a role in optimal mental health. In addition, Vitamin B-6 has long been known as a mood enhancer and is used in treatment for various mood disorders.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant known for its ability to lift the mood. This antioxidant is found in regular tomatoes as well. However, they must be cooked in order to release the lycopene for use in the body.
Beef from grass-fed cows contain a higher concentration of Omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to reduce inflammation and feelings of sluggishness throughout the body. It is also rich in creatine, an amino acid that has been shown to help with depression in women in particular.
While not as easy to find as their red or yellow cousins, blue potatoes are also good for nutritional treatment of depression: they are rich in anthocyanins, antioxidants known to nourish and protect neurons and reduce brain inflammation associated with this condition.
As many people know, turkey contains high levels of tryptophan. The body converts it to a form of serotonin, a chemical known to enhance feelings of calm and happiness and at the same time to reduce unwanted stress.
Spinach is well-known for its rich nutritional value and in additional to its many vitamins and minerals, it has high levels of folic acid. The folic acid is well known for its ability to induce a mood of calm and contentment.
If this high-fat, high calorie dairy product is consumed in the right amounts, it can also help with feelings of depression. That is because it is rich in zinc, which is needed by the brain for cognitive response and to ward off depression.
Beans are a great source of plant-based protein, and protein is important for optimum mental health. Both the amino acid and the iron found in beans helps to combat mental disorders. They are also rich in antioxidants to improve overall health.
Bananas are nutrient rich and help with cell development, energy levels and healthy nervous system function. They are also an excellent source of Vitamin B, adequate amounts of which can help allay feelings of irritation, anger or stress.
For some, a natural approach to depression treatment is the best option. Along with the lifestyle modifications previously mentioned, increasing dietary intake of these foods can help fight back the blues and enhance feelings of emotional well-being.