We often say that diet always plays a vital role in determining your growth. As a bad diet habit can affect you worse, a good diet plan can actually prevent you from many diseases and even can cure some of them. Physical health is affected by food habits is understandable but what about mental health?.
The answer is yes. Food does affect our mood. Also, as we know depression causes fatigue and sleep disorders, a good diet can actually provide strength to your body and makes you feel better. Different sorts of nutrients in food items make the inbuilt body stronger. Eating habits are a part of the lifestyle. Lifestyle plays a vital role in affecting your mental health and so does food.
“If we eat better foods like lean proteins, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and fish, we short-circuit the junk food cravings and have higher energy levels and sharper mental focus,” says Dr Talbot.
Depression is a mood disorder where a person feels sad, hopeless, shattered maybe, over a period of time. Depression is a common mental health issue. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source estimates that 8.1 per cent of American adults ages 20 and over had depression in any given 2-week period from 2013 to 2016. Depression affects people in different ways. In some cases, it can hamper work-life that resulting in loss of time and working quality. It may also affect relationships and any chronic disease.
Here are some food items that can help you in fighting depression
Turkey might not look like something that can treat any disease due to its flamy and appetizing look, but actually, it is a very good source of protein. Any food item which is a good source of protein helps in fighting depression. But Turkey is surely a bit ahead out of them. This is because it contains relatively higher levels of a chemical called tryptophan.
“Turkey is the best food we know of because of its tryptophan content,” says Robin H-C, a life coach, behaviourist, and author of Thinking Your Way to Happy! “This chemical stimulates serotonin production, which is a natural feel-good chemical your body produces.”
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Most of the nuts are good for heart health due to their richness in protein. But walnut makes an edge in reducing symptoms of Depression. Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in the US found that depression scores were 26 per cent lower for walnut consumers and eight per cent lower for consumers of other nuts, compared to those who did not eat nuts at all.
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of every six adults will have depression at some time in their life. It is important to find low-cost interventions, such as dietary changes, that are easy to implement and may help reduce the incidence of depression,” said lead investigator Lenore Arab, from UCLA.
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Some researches show that omega-3 fatty acids are a good source in reducing symptoms of depression. Fish oil is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which play an important role in brain function. People with depression may have low blood levels of brain chemicals called eicosapentaenoic (i-koe-suh-pen-tuh-e-NO-ik) acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (doe-koe-suh-hek-suh-e-NO-ik) acid (DHA). EPA and DHA can be found in fish oil.
Some examples of fatty fish are mackerel, bluefish, wild salmon, and tuna, says Talbott. And it is not just good with properties to fight depression, but also good for overall health.
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Low fat dairy
Skim milk, yoghurt, low-fat cheeses, and other dairy products are rich sources of calcium, protein and Vitamin D. Low-fat dairy products are not only good for the body but also for fighting depression
“Low-fat dairy is the richest dietary source of two powerhouse nutrients, calcium and vitamin D, as well as specific peptides (proteins) that induce a sense of well-being and relaxation,” says Talbott.
In a study of more than 1,000 adults from Japan, researchers found that those who consumed a higher amount of low-fat milk and yoghurt were less likely to develop symptoms of depression, compared with those who consumed lower amounts of these dairy products.
Whole grain food
Healthy high-fibre carbohydrates found in whole grains can make you feel good and do your body good at the same time. It can help you in reducing the symptoms of depression.
“Complex carbohydrates are wonderful foods to improve mood quickly,” says Debbie Mandel, a stress management expert and author of Addicted to Stress. “Whole grains, brown rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and whole wheat pasta are all good choices. They help the body release serotonin.”
Green tea has its own set of benefits. It helps you in weight loss and leading a healthy lifestyle. But not only this, it can help in reducing the symptoms of depression too.
“Theanine is an amino acid naturally found in tea leaves that provides an anti-stress relaxation benefit to tea drinkers,” he adds. “The presence of theanine in green tea is thought to be responsible for the observation that caffeine intake in coffee drinkers (who aren’t getting theanine) is more apt to result in tension as opposed to the ‘relaxed alertness’ more common to tea drinkers.”
Dark chocolate surely boosts up your mood. It relieves stress and anxiety. “Dark chocolate helps to release serotonin and relaxes the blood vessels of the cardiovascular system,” says Mandel. Just remember that dark chocolate contains a lot of calories with about 150 calories per ounce, so eat just one small piece at a time.
A study compared self-reported chocolate consumption with self-reported depressive symptoms, as measured by the PHQ-9. People who ate dark chocolate in the past 24 hours were 70% less likely to report depression.
A lot of Indian spices not only satisfy your taste buds but also makes your body stronger. Tumeric is something you can find very easily in Indian households. It is a great home remedy to cure a lot of health issues. Even adding turmeric to milk provides you energy and helps in healing down wounds.
But what about depression? Sure. Turmeric is a different curry that can help boost up your mood.
“Turmeric can indeed be considered one of the ‘spices of life’ because of its profound anti-inflammatory activity,” says Talbott.
“Famously used in spicy Indian and Thai dishes, turmeric contains the active compounds turmerones and curcuminoids, which have been associated with a wide range of health benefits.”