Foods To Eat And Avoid In A Depression Diet

Globally, more than 264 million people suffer from depression, according to the World Health Organization. [1]

Sadness, lethargy, and a general lack of enthusiasm in life are all symptoms of depression.

There are a variety of ways to tackle this, and a depression diet can benefit not only your mental health but also your whole well-being. In fact, a 2017 study found that when persons with moderate-to-severe depression received nutritional advice and ate a healthier diet for 12 weeks, their symptoms improved.

Consider how you would feel if you had more optimism, energy, positivism, focus, and a stronger interest in life. You certainly can.

Making dietary changes can aid in the treatment of depression. Not only are there foods that can make you feel better, but there are also foods that you should avoid.

Foods That Help With Depression

1. Oily Fish

Vitamin D is found in oily fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, light tuna, and mackerel. [2] Vitamin D has been linked to mood regulation and the prevention of depression, according to research. Reduced fatigue and improved heart health are two further health benefits.

When you’re low on energy, you’re more likely to become irritable, which can lead to a variety of undesirable behaviors. And, especially if you’re dealing with depression, this is not the emotional path you want to go.

The sun provides the majority of our vitamin D, although dietary sources are equally crucial.

Other sources include egg yolks, beef liver, and fortified dairy products. When it comes to egg yolks, be sure to check the national label as there can be variances in the amount of Vitamin D.

Related: Best Foods for Dieters to Eat Healthily

2. Vegetables

It was unavoidable. Do you recall being told to eat your vegetables as a kid?
It turns out that there was a very excellent reason for this. If you suffer from depression, eating vegetables can help.
Those with depression have a lower food consumption of folate than those without depression, according to research[3].

Darker leafy greens contain folate, and people with depression have a lower dietary intake of folate than those without depression.
Vitamins A, C, E, and K are also present. Which will provide you with a slew of health benefits, including improved brain function and immune system strength.

Incorporating spinach, kale, or arugula into your diet may help you feel better. If you don’t like any of these, lettuce, broccoli, or asparagus can be substituted.

3. Walnuts

Omega-3 fatty acids are an excellent source of protein for maintaining a healthy blood sugar balance.

They’re also known as essential fats since, unlike some other compounds, they can’t be created by the human body, therefore they have to be consumed through food.

Walnuts are high in Omega-3 fatty acids and are believed to help with brain function and blood pressure.

In fact, a study conducted between 2005 and 2014 indicated that those who consumed roughly 14 cups of walnuts per day had depression levels that were 26 percent lower.[4]

As you can see, including a source of Omega-3 in your diet, such as walnuts, can help with depression.

Related: Ways to Feel Better With a Clean Eating Diet

4. Poultry

Turkey and chicken are essential for a variety of reasons. They include not just lean protein, but also Tryptophan, which is essential for good health. [5]

Tryptophan is used by the body to generate melatonin and serotonin.

Melatonin aids in the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle, while serotonin aids in the regulation of appetite, sleep, mood, and pain.

After eating a turkey dinner, you may have even experienced a healthy spike in melatonin levels in the form of asleep.

While you don’t have to eat turkey every day, including chicken or turkey in your diet can help you maintain a healthy balance of rest and energy.

In fact, just 3 ounces of the roasted chicken breast offers 123% of the recommended daily intake of tryptophan.

Foods That Worsen Depression

When coping with depression, it’s important to be aware of foods that could have a negative impact on you. If you limit or, in some cases, eliminate these foods altogether you will increase your chances of feeling better.

5. Alcohol

This is significant because many people, sadly, resort to alcohol when they are having a difficult day. However, it is preferable to minimize or avoid alcohol entirely.

Alcohol is a sedative. You’re more prone to make poor decisions or act on impulse if you drink too much.

This could cause you to make poor judgments, exacerbating your depression.

Not to mention that the energy and effort expended on drinking could be better spent on making healthier choices, such as preparing a nutritious meal.

To reduce your risks of drinking alcohol, avoid going to a wine and spirits store, avoid shopping in the grocery store’s alcohol area, and avoid eating at restaurants that provide alcoholic beverages.

It’s all too easy to tell yourself that a glass of wine would heal everything when, in reality, it’ll just make things worse.

Related: Alcohol Affects Your Energy Levels in 5 Ways

6. Sugar

An excess of sugary meals can harm your health in the long run. While it’s unrealistic to expect to be sugar-free totally, you should keep a close eye on how much sugar you ingest.

Adults should consume no more than 25 (women) to 36 (men) grams of added sugar per day, according to the American Heart Association.[6]

Sugary foods such as cakes, cookies, and pies might affect your mood. It may make you feel fantastic for a short time, but it is only that.

Cutting back on sugar will help you maintain a more even blood sugar level, which will help you maintain a more even mood.

Sugar has a significant negative impact on B vitamins due to its lack of nutritional content. The body depletes these key mood-enhancing vitamins in order to turn sugar into energy. Vitamins B-12 and B6 in particular.

When the body is deficient in certain vitamins, it suffers from fatigue and poor cognitive performance. It’s simpler to go into a sad condition as a result of related this:

Related:13 Low-Fat, High-Protein Foods for a Healthy Diet

7. Fast Food

Refined foods, such as fast-food burgers and fries, are high in components that should be avoided in your depression diet. [7]

Burgers, sausages, and pizza, as well as muffins, donuts, and croissants, were found to increase the risk of depression, according to a study.

This is due to the high levels of trans-fat and trans-isomer fatty acids in these foods. And these are non-essential fatty acids in the human diet.

These types of foods have very little national importance. Replace those items with fresh fruits and veggies and you’ll be much better off.

8. Caffeine

Eliminating caffeine may appear to be a hard and unrealistic endeavor in some instances.

That is why, especially if you are suffering from depression-like symptoms, moderation is essential.

Caffeine might make you feel anxious and alter your sleep patterns. Caffeine can cause sleep deprivation as a side effect, making you irritated and exhausted, neither of which are good things to have while you’re depressed.

Caffeine is also a psychoactive substance, which is easy to overlook.[8]

That is to say, it alters mood, brain function, and behavior. However, because it is legal and uncontrolled, over 90% of individuals in North America consume it on a daily basis.

Replace your caffeinated drinks such as coffee or energy drink with a healthier option like green tea.

Related: Natural Energy Boosters That Will Replace Energy Drinks

Bottom Line

Making a depressive diet can be beneficial to your mind, body, and spirit. As you can see, the food you put into your body has a direct impact on your body. 
In the long term, making healthier, more informed decisions will benefit you. And, depending on your current eating habits, including any of these foods in your diet could be a lot easier than you think. 

A few small changes to your everyday routine could make all the difference. The better your thinking is, the more likely you are to improve your nutrition on a daily basis. 


  1. World Health Organization: Depression

2. NIH: Vitamin D

3. NIH: Folate

4. MDPI: Lower Depression Scores among Walnut Consumers in NHANES

5. Wikipedia: Tryptophan

6. American Heart Association: Sugar 101

7. Daily: Link between fast food and depression confirmed

8. World Health Organization: Psychoactive Drug

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