Many people are interested in choosing foods that fight depression. While it is important to consult with licensed professionals regarding mental health concerns, eating a healthy, balanced diet can help support other interventions, such as therapy or medication.
Dietary habits for mental health
Good nutrition supports overall physical and mental health. In addition, eating regularly scheduled meals that are both tasty and healthy can help improve mood and reduce anxiety. Here are some tips that can help people with depression eat a healthy diet:
Plan meals in advance. This removes the stress of deciding what to eat right before mealtimes.
Prepare healthy meals in large batches. Then seal and freeze them to be reheated later. This ensures access to healthy meals even when a person might be exhausted or upset.
Take a cooking class. Many community centers, park districts and specialty food stores offer classes that teach culinary skills. Learning something new, and in a group, is good for mental health. Knowing how to cook saves money and provides people with the skills they need to prepare delicious food.
Foods that fight depression
There are several foods that contain vitamins, minerals and other compounds that could benefit mental health:
Salmon: In addition to being delicious, salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamin D, both of these substances have positive effects on mood. Salmon is also very versatile and can be baked, sautéed, poached or grilled.
Berries: despite their sweetness, berries are actually fairly low in sugar. They also contain antioxidants that can fight what is known as oxidative stress. Over time, the consumption of berries might support positive mood and low anxiety.
Nuts: Many nuts contain selenium a mineral that is sometimes deficient in people with depression. Moderate consumption of nuts can help increase selenium levels, though it should be noted that it is possible to get too much selenium, which could lead to health problems. Nut milks are one way to get nuts into one's diet: Try adding nut milk to coffee, tea, or smoothies.
A salmon and berry salad is easy to make, delicious, and contains several foods that fight depression. Some of the ingredients, such as the salmon and the dressing, can be prepared ahead of time, which means that this salad for two takes only minutes to make:
4 cups of dark, leafy salad greens
6 ounces of cooked salmon that has been chilled in the refrigerator
1/2 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 cup fresh blackberries
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
Honey mustard salad dressing (use to taste)
- Cut the cooked salmon into small pieces using a chef's knife.
- Whisk 1/8 cup plus 1/2 tablespoon Djion mustard, 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar, 3/4 teaspoons of kosher salt, 1/8 cup of honey, 1/8 cup plus 1 tablespoon of neutral oil.
- Place the salad greens in a large bowl and add the berries. Toss, then add the salmon.
- Pour the dressing over the salad, toss, and serve.
Diet is an important aspect of health, including mental health. Incorporating foods that fight depression can be a critical part of a plan of prevention as well as treatment.