By Dr. Shikha Sharma
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Healthy Diet to Boost Your Mental Health – Diet for Depression

Diet for Depression

Depression affects more than 350 million people worldwide, and it can be life changing. Counseling and medical treatment can often help relieve symptoms, but lifestyle modifications, such as a healthy diet, can also boost a person’s well-being.

So, diet plays an important part for mental health. What we eat matters for every aspect of our health, but especially our mental health. There is currently no dietary recommendation to treat depression but people can manage or improve their symptoms of depression by addressing their diet.


Antioxidants help remove free radicals, which are the waste products of natural processes. If the body cannot eliminate enough free radicals it can cause a number of health problems which may include anxiety and depression. Including food rich in antioxidants into your diet may reduce symptoms of anxiety in people with generalized anxiety disorder and stress-related symptoms of depression. For Beta-carotene includes apricots, broccoli, carrots, peaches, pumpkin, spinach, and sweet potato. Tomato, broccoli, Kiwi, grapefruit, oranges, blueberries ,peppers, potatoes, strawberries can be included for Vitamin C. Nuts and seeds, vegetable oils are good sources of Vitamin E.

Complex Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates have been associated with mood-boosting brain chemical, serotonin so choose them wisely. Include more Wholegrain cereals like whole wheat, Oatmeal, etc, Beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables as they are rich in vitamins and minerals that help the body to perform well. All these foods are rich in B vitamins and zinc and recent studies suggest that these nutrients are important in managing depression. Try to eat at least five different fruits and vegetables daily to get all the vitamins and minerals you need.


Include some protein in every meal as it boosts alertness. Tryptophan is one of the building blocks of protein, and research suggests that it may help with depression. A diet with enough protein helps to clear your mind and increase energy levels.

Good sources include fish, poultry, eggs, pulses and legumes and dairy products like milk and curd.

Selenium-Rich Foods

Studies have shown a link between low selenium and poor moods. The recommended amount for selenium is 55 micrograms a day for adults. Increasing selenium intake might help reduce anxiety and improve mood, which makes depression more manageable. Include Beans and legumes, Lean meat (Chicken, Egg), Low-fat dairy products, Nuts like brazil nut, Seafood (Sardines, saltwater fish, freshwater fish) and Whole grains (whole-wheat, brown rice, oatmeal, etc.)

Include Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Evidence has suggested that omega-3 fatty acids might help with depressive disorders. Eating omega-3 fatty acids enhance brain functions and preserve myelin sheath that protects nerve cells. This may reduce the risk of brain disease and mood disorders. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include Fatty fish (Mackerel, salmon, sardines and tuna), Flaxseed, Flaxseed oil, Chia seeds, Canola and soybean oils, Nuts, like walnuts and Dark green, leafy vegetables.

The gist of it is, including fruits and veggies, whole grains (in unprocessed), seeds and nuts, with some lean proteins like fish and yogurt. Avoid added sugars or flours (like breads and pastas), and minimize red meats.

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