It can be said that food does have a gratifying effect on both the physical as well as mental health. While caffeine and sugar can cause an instant surge in blood glucose levels and result in short-term alertness, in the long run, certain foods can help manage a person’s moods better. Here are six such foods that can help manage depression.
Among the most exotic and expensive spices of the world, saffron, is a mood enhancer. Research shows it is a very effective anti-depressant, on par with any chemically produced anti-depressant like fluoxetine. And, the good thing is, saffron does not create any adverse side effects. The long-term ingestion of saffron leads to a stabilization of good moods. Just the scent of this spice is likely to reduce stress and anxiety in people with depression symptoms. The presence of certain chemicals in saffron help alter negative mood, reduce inflammation, and as an antioxidant, it helps protect against cancer too.
Berries are fruits rich in antioxidants, a chemical that prevents cell damage caused by free radicals. The polyphenols in berries are associated with reduced inflammation coexistent with depression. As per a recent study, within hours after eating wild blueberries, the research showed mitigation of depression and a surge in positive emotions like alertness and joy. Strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries too contain a high level of antioxidants.
Avocado is a superfood that brims with the goodness of nutrients like Vitamins B, C, E, and K, fiber, and a high dose of protein. Avocadoes are very good to have if one is looking to manage depression symptoms. It contains tryptophan, omega-3 fatty acids, and folate. Omega-3 helps reduce inflammation in the brain and regulates the neurotransmitters in the brain. The Vitamin B6 or folate present in avocado alleviates depression symptoms by breaking down homocysteine amino acids. Homocysteine is responsible for the proper functioning of neurotransmitters in the brain that holds power over a person’s moods. Because three-fourths of the fats in avocado are from oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat, it also enables the proper functioning of the brain. Thus, everything about the humble avocado screams goodness for emotional health.
Fruits and vegetables
A recently published study states that people who ate plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables every day felt more energized and happier. Their moods improved, and they felt more positive. Aim for at least five servings of fresh vegetables and three servings of fruits, all in their natural form, or at least not processed too much.
Fish contain several beneficial nutrients like low-fat high-quality protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamins B and D, zinc, iodine, and omega-3 fatty acids. Studies conducted have confirmed that polyunsaturated fatty acids like docosapentaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid found in fish help reduce the risk of depression. A diet containing fish, when had two or three times a week, helps manage depression more effectively.
Chicken and turkey are two kinds of poultry that contain lean protein. It helps stabilize blood glucose levels and provides energy throughout the day. As a result of this, a person’s moods are equable and well-balanced. Poultry also contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid that produces niacin, which in turn synthesizes the neurotransmitter serotonin. It is a chemical in charge of maintaining bone health, and is known to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.