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Foods Can Help Depression

Food and Depression

According to a report from the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 18.8 million Americans over the age of 18 suffer from major depression. And nearly190 million prescriptions dispensed in the United States last year. Learning about nutrients in food can have an effect on how you feel and modifying your diet could help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with depression.

The B vitamins play a vital role in our mental health. Eating foods that contain significant levels of B vitamins can reduce symptoms of depression. B1 provides an energy boost to the body and can be found in the following foods: pork, tuna, red kidney beans, yellow corn, and wheat germ. B3 foods can include poultry, lamb, brown rice, wheat, and pomegranates. Foods rich in vitamin B6 include bell peppers, spinach, bananas, and tuna. B12 foods include baked snapper, scallops, venison, and yogurt. Foods such as calves’ liver and sunflower seeds are all good choices to provide a wide variety of B vitamins.

The amino acid l-tryptophan is the precursor to serotonin, which is a necessary neurotransmitter responsible for regulating moods and sleep. Foods containing l-tryptophan can include proteins such as poultry, lean meats, and fish. Also, cheeses such as cottage cheese, cheddar, and swiss, are rich in l-tryptophan. Adding whole-grain cereals can boost levels of l-tryptophan as can vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.

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Studies suggests that people whose diets contain more of one kind of polyunsaturated fatty acid than another may be at greater risk for clinical depression. Low levels of DHA have been associated with depression and can be found in certain foods. Leading food sources of omega-3 can include salmon, cod, shrimp, sardines, halibut, broccoli cauliflower, cabbage, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, and cloves.

Magnesium may ease symptoms of depression. Some foods that contain magnesium are halibut, tuna, oysters, bananas, artichokes, spinach and other dark leafy greens, alfalfa, apples, figs, lemons, peaches, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, avocados, almonds, and barley.

As important as some foods can be to include in our diets, sugars, corn syrup, caffeine, smoked and pickled foods, dark poultry, fried foods, alcohol, white flour, and soda should be avoided. Skipping meals can affect your blood sugar levels that can cause mood swings. It is suggested that you eat five or six small meals a day as part of a healthy wellness plan. If your symptoms of depression get worse, even when eating a healthy diet, it is important to visit your doctor and share your symptoms. Certain symptoms could mean something else is going on and should be checked.

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