Do you suffer from depression? Or do you know someone who does? In this day and age, it is quite common to find people suffering with depression. It is a mental health disorder that can be caused by a deep sense of personal or professional loss/failure that may induce stress on the individuals’ brain’s functionality. It can be simply characterized by persistent dull mood, loss of interest in everyday activities that eventually creates an impact on his/her daily life. Depression may cause a major upheaval in the behavioral patterns and develop physical symptoms like changes in sleep, appetite, energy levels, concentration and self-esteem issues.
It is, however, best advised to seek professional or medical help to relieve the individual of the stressful symptoms. Although, research shows small changes, when incorporated into their day-to-day life, can prove to be significantly beneficial to boost their well-being.
While it is common to notice that people often resort to unhealthy eating habits as a fall back, but if their diet is slightly altered, it can aid to the betterment of the individual’s mental health. As every food item should be consumed in adequate amounts, here are some of the tried-and-tested foods that can help you instantly feel better mentally and emotionally:
According to a study conducted in 2017, on multiple victims of depression, it was found that fresh and whole foods that are rich in nutrients, when included in a person’s diet, were proven to uplift the mood and manage or improve their symptoms of depression just by choosing conscious eating habits.
1. Mood-Enhancing Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Our brain is the main source of all the overthinking that leads to mood fluctuations. To regulate and protect the brain health, foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids should be consumed. The omega-3 fatty acids enhance the functioning of serotonin that is a neurotransmitter regulating the mood. These acids also preserve the myelin sheath that protects the nerve cells present in our brain. A few of the Omega-3 acid rich foods are: Walnuts, Flaxseeds, Oily types of fish such as salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines, and tuna (not canned). Include these foods in your diet and see the difference for yourself.
2. Give Your Body The Much Needed Vitamins And Fiber
Studies have shown that people who suffer from depression have low levels of Vitamins and Selenium. While most people prefer supplements, as it is an easier choice, it may also lead to development of certain side effects that can be mood busters. So, it’s always best to depend on a safe source of vitamins i.e. food rich in Vitamins and Selenium.
A healthy diet is one that is rich in vitamins and fiber. Take good amounts of green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, beans and legumes, low-fat dairy products (low-fat cheese, milk, yogurt), and whole grains like millets, quinoa and brown rice. The receptors in our brain react well to these foods, thereby releasing Serotonin that reflects on the mood. It is truly said, Good Food is equal to Good Mood.
3. Fermented Foods For The Win
Kimchi, yogurt, kombucha, and kefir are some of the finest foods that cannot be ignored while undergoing depression. During the fermentation process of these foods, probiotics are created which help boost the levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut, further improving the gut health and mood by increasing Serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that impacts human behavior, such as mood, stress response, and appetite. This reduces the symptoms and risk of depression. Although, all fermented foods are not as beneficial as those above. Alcohol and bread should be strictly avoided due to the cooking and filtering involved in the fermentation process.
4. Uplift Your Mood Instantly With Dark Chocolate
Dark Chocolate is known to be good for the heart, but little did we know that tests revealed a positive impact on our brain as well. It is rich in many mood-boosting compounds that increase the blood flow to the brain which regulate the mood and eventually become an integral part of boosting brain health. It is, however, suggested to intake dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate because dark chocolate has a high hedonic rating and doesn’t contain added sugar and fat. Dark chocolate, when consumed in a favorable amount of 1-2 small squares, increases feel-good chemicals in the brain with its taste, texture and odor properties. It is also known as an instant fuel to the brain that brings feelings of joy in the person with depressed symptoms.
5. Shocking: Salads As Energy Boosters
Onion, tomatoes and tossed mushrooms make the healthiest form of breakfast salad. They are also surprisingly highly effective in fighting depression. Tossed mushrooms are great for mental health, as their chemical properties help lower blood sugar levels that calm the nerves. They also promote healthy gut bacteria which in turn helps in producing Serotonin to keep the brain sane. Onions, on the other hand, contain high concentrations of anti-inflammatory flavonoid antioxidants that benefit your mood. Tomatoes release folic acid and alpha-lipoic acid, both of which are good for fighting depression. They are also a source of high energy-inducing compounds that effectively boost your mood. All of the above listed foods are easily available for everyday use. Please consult your doctor in case of any allergies. It is highly recommended to seek medical and professional help.
Who Can Help You In Distress?
Below are some of the Global Mental Health Organizations and Helpline numbers that cater to helping you get through this:
Yoga To The Rescue
Some also believe that yoga has massively helped them calm their mind during depression. Certain asanas that can help are: Child’s pose or Balasana, Plow pose or Halasana, Bridge pose or Sethu Bandhasana, Corpse pose or Savasana. They help you improve focus while incorporating deep breathing that is effective for relieving symptoms of depression.