When depression hits my world comes spiraling down. I feel numb, with no energy what so ever. Everything is a drag and I don’t socialize or even talk to my family. When I go to university its hell, people talk to me when all I want to do is go home and devour a huge bowl of ice-cream and eat unhealthy fast-food. I battle with Dysthymia which is a persistent type of depression. Through my journey of recovery, I learned the types of food those with depression should eat. If you are like me, an emotional eater it can be harder to eat the right foods. So, I have created a list of what I eat when my depression hits.
Disclaimer: These foods will not take your depression away, but it will help ease your symptoms.
- Berries – strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, goji berries & acai berries.
- Citrus fruits – grapefruits, oranges, lime, tangerine & lemons
- Dark leafy greens – spinach, swiss chard & kale
- Lean turkey
- Lean chicken
- Greek yogurt
- Beans – kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans & legumes
- Nuts & Seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Water – you can add fruits to your water as well.
- Tea – green, black, match, hibiscus, oolong & chamomile
- Green smoothies
- Fruit smoothies
- Juice – cranberry & orange
- Herbs / Spices
- Garlic powder
- Olive oil
- Fish oil
- Dark Chocolate
- Gluten free foods
All of these foods I incorporated to my diet, and it has helped boost my mood tremendously. It wasn’t till I started eating better that I realized the damage junk food was doing to me. The reason these foods are great for managing your symptoms is because of what they contain. For instance, berries, citrus, spinach, broccoli and tomato contain antioxidants. Antioxidants help prevent cell damage in the brain. Protein rich foods have amino acids that aid in creating serotonin. Fish, nuts, and leafy vegetable have omega-3. This decreases depression.
At times I can feel overwhelmed on what to eat or drink, so I take ziploc bags and separate different fruits or veggies for my smoothies. During the week I cook for three days, and separate each day in a different container. That way I can feel organized, plus its easier when you are really depressed. Now, that I have talked about the foods you should eat, here is a small list of things you shouldn’t:
- Refined sugars
- Fast foods
- Trans fat
- Fried food
- Processed food
- Artificial sweeteners
- Foods high on sodium
The reason you should stay away from these foods is because they will make your symptoms worse. For instance, alcohol and caffeine increases depression by lowering serotonin levels. Processed and fast foods affect your blood sugar making you feel fatigued. Sugar is poison for you because it not only makes you depressed, but it provokes irritability, insomnia, poor concentration, and memory loss. Just because these foods are bad for you doesn’t mean you can’t eat them ever again. The occasional cake or cheese burger won’t make your symptoms worse. I personally have a cheat day once a month where I go out and buy myself a brownie or anything unhealthy that I’m craving. The point here is to stay away as much as possible bad food in order to improve your depression.
I hope this article can help you pick better foods for your depression. You won’t notice how your eating habits affect you until you make better food choices. Depression is not easy, but food can improve your mood. It’s true what they say, “You are what you eat”. Happy eating 😀
Dr. Axe. (2017). Top 10 High Antioxidant Foods. Retrieved from: https://store.draxe.com/
WebMD. (2017). Depression and Diet. Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/diet-recovery#1