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We’ve all had depression at some stage in our lives. But when the depression happens on a more frequent basis, it can become cause for concern. But there are ways to adjust your diet to help stabilize your mood. It’s imperative to eat meals at regular intervals in order to keep your serotonin levels in check, a chemical in the brain that has a calming effect. Good nutrition is your best defense for managing depression.
Carbohydrates are linked to serotonin production and lack of carbohydrates may cause changes in your mood. Here are more food ideas to help you combat depression and kick those blues.
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon and mackerel are always a great choice for dinner. Omega-3 fatty acids also help prevent heart disease and stroke and may help prevent some cancers. Plus, salmon contains selenium, an important antioxidant mineral. Be sure to choose wild salmon at the grocery store or local fish market, since it contains more omegas than farmed, or Atlantic, salmon.
A recent study indicated that people who suffer from depression also have lower levels of the antioxidant vitamin E. So, though oil is high in fat and should be consumed in strict moderation, canola oil is rich in vitamin E. It’s a healthier alternative for sautéing foods and vegetables.
Dark green vegetables like spinach and peas are high in folate, a key player in the production of serotonin. They’re also an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber. Fresh is always the best option, as canned versions tend to have lower nutritional value. Legumes are also high in folate and protein and low in fat, and are an excellent option for those who are vegetarian or meat-restricted diets.
Chickpeas are rich in fiber, iron, and vitamin E. For a simple snack, combine a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas with some minced garlic, fresh lemon juice, and olive or canola oil in your blender or food processor. Add salt, pepper and other spices as you wish. The resulting hummus makes a healthy and hearty vegetable dip.
Chicken and turkey are both rich in vitamin B6, which plays a role in serotonin production in the body. They are both a good source of selenium and other vitamins and minerals, too.
And please, if you’ve been dealing with the symptoms of depression for a while, please contact your doctor to discuss available treatment options and medication that may be available to you.