Depression or avsaad is a curable disease. Have you heard about happy foods? Yes, there are some happy foods which help to beat depression naturally; you may call them anti depression foods. Though, these anti depression foods don’t cure depression directly but they certainly help to overcome depression. They act as good mood elevator to keep the depression patients happy and healthy.
In fact, eating the right foods is most important for patient to treat depression. The theory behind this is that what we eat and drink has direct impact on our mood. Recent researches prove that foods promote sanity which send an alarm to your limbic system (emotion center) and cause inflammation. Moreover, a number of studies have shown that some foods influence the production of chemicals that are directly involved in determining mood, mental energy, performance and behaviour. Serotonin and norepinephrine are two brain chemicals which play an important role to affect mood. Serotonin and norepinephrine are often found lacking in depressed people.
Therefore, it is quite necessary to give proper diet to depression patients. You should increase the intake of natural anti depression foods, such as bananas, apples, cashew nuts, walnuts etc. At the same time, you should eliminate gluten, dairy, caffeine, and sugar from the diet of depression patient. Eat fresh food throughout the day as far as possible.
Some of the main natural anti depression foods are bananas, whole grain bread, cashew, walnuts, apple, avocados, dark chocolate and salmon. These natural foods help to boost the level of happy hormones (brain chemical)- ‘Serotonin’.
Foods That Help to Overcome Depression:
1. Bananas as Anti Depression Foods:
Banana (kela in Hindi) are very good anti depression foods. They are rich source of magnesium and vitamin B6. In addition, bananas contains a type of protein called tryptophan; tryptophan helps the body to synthesize its own serotonin. Actually, serotonin is a type of brain chemical (happy hormone) responsible for keeping your mood happy, relaxed and stress free. And because low level of serotonin causes depression, eating bananas may help to beat depression indirectly. It is also proved from current studies that by taking 1000 mg of tryptophan three times a day, you can boost up your mood effectively.
A single banana contains high fibre and vitamin B6 (22 percent of your daily requirement). Moreover, bananas are a rich source of potassium that support nerves and maintains blood pressure. Therefore, eating more tryptophan and vitamin B6 rich foods like bananas may certainly help to beat depression naturally. Other tryptophan rich foods are milk, dates, peanuts and fish.
2. Walnuts as Anti Depression Foods:
Walnuts or akhrot are one of the richest plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. They have long been considered good for the brain and act as an excellent mood booster. Walnuts (akhrot) are made up of 15 to 20 percent protein. In addition, they also contain omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E and vitamin B6. These nutrients make it an excellent source of nourishment for nervous system. However, it helps to reduce anxiety and depression too by increasing serotonin level. Many studies have proved that omega-3 fatty acids support brain function and reduce depression symptoms.
Therefore, eat walnuts daily to boost the brain’s serotonin levels. However, walnuts are high in calories, eat in small quantity (not more than 1 ounce or 14 walnut halves).
3. Cashew nuts or Kaju:
Cashew nuts or kaju are good natural anti depression foods. They contain mood booster vitamins- B6, magnesium, tryptophan and niacin. Vitamin B6 is especially important to the function of the central nervous system. It helps to convert the tryptophan into serotonin and then helps the magnesium enter into the nerve cells. Presence of vitamin B helps to stimulate nervous system and helps in keeping the brain cheerful, active, and energetic. Researchers claim that eating two handfuls of cashews is equivalent to taking a prescription dose of the popular antidepressant. You will get enough tryptophan to alter and elevate your mood.
Now, it is a strong belief that there is a great connection between food and people’s mental health. Our brain mainly relies on the nutrients, such as -Omega-3, amino acids, Vitamin B, D, zinc, magnesium and iron,- to work smoothly. Avocados are excellent anti depression foods that help to overcome depression naturally. They are rich in stress-relieving vitamin B and healthy fatty acids. Many studies have confirmed the association between folate deficiency and depression. Foods, which are high in folate (like- avocados) may help to prevent the build-up of homocysteine in the brain. In addition, avocado also contains Omega-3 (healthy fatty acids) and tryptophan that help to regulate the neurotransmitters in the brain. Therefore, eat at least one avocado every day in breakfast if you are facing depression.
5. Apples as Anti Depression Foods:
‘Eats an apple a day, keeps the doctor away’ whether it is physician or psychiatrist. We can not ignore the importance of good nutrition to fight depression. Apple is an excellent fruit full of antioxidants and soluble fibre. It is very good to overcome depression because of its nutrients like- Vitamin B1, potassium, phosphorus etc which helps to control wear and tear of nerve cells. Therefore, eat at least one apple daily with milk and honey. It works as a very effective nerve tonic that gives an extra energy to nerves.
6. Dark Chocolates:
Dark chocolate is very good for brain because of its beneficial anti- inflammatory properties. It is rich in antioxidants, especially various flavonoids. Researchers say that flavonoids help to overcome depression if it is given in limited quantity. Results of some studies state that flavanol also helps in regulating mood and even depression. Dark chocolates are considered as good anti depression foods because of its flavonoids
In short, dark chocolates are good for brain and also help to alleviate depression. Its main component- ‘Cocoa’ contains serotonin which plays an important role in depression. Cocoa facilitates the release of serotonin. Some studies state that dark chocolate helps to reduce the levels of stress hormones- Cortisol and catecholamines.
Therefore, daily dose of 1 ounce of dark chocolate helps to overcome depression. But over dose of dark chocolate may increase depression.
7. Pumpkin Seeds:
Pumpkin (kaddu) is a powerhouse of mental health nutrients. Its seeds are indirectly help in curing depression. It contains tryptophan (an amino acid) that helps in production of serotonin. However, pumpkin seeds (kaddu ke beej) are also a very good source of zinc, manganese, copper, phosphorous and magnesium. These are the most common nutritional deficiencies found in almost all depression patients. Amino acids are precursors of neurotransmitters such as L-tryptophan.
Depression is believed to be caused due to decreased release of two brain transmitters- serotonin and noradrenaline. Pumpkin seeds are good as anti depression foods because of its tryptophan. Tryptophan converts to serotonin in the brain. Therefore, eat handful of pumpkin seeds (kaddu ke beej) daily to boost serotonin level in the brain. It is good for anxiety and depression both.
You can consume pumpkin seeds after baking, boiling or roasting or even raw. Moreover, you can add them into soups, smoothies, and desserts.
8. Salmon for Depression:
Do you know, your diet may provide you an alternative treatment of depression? One of the best things, you can do for your brain is to get more Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Omega 3s are important not only for the proper structure of membranes in the brain, but also helps in the transmission of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. Results of some studies state that serotonin is directly linked to depression. In addition, people who eat omega-3-rich fish tend to have a lower risk of depression and a more positive affect. The findings of a study published in ‘Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health’ showed that high consumption of fish can reduce the risk of depression. (1)
Here, it is not necessary to mention that Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B6. It is an edible fish which is famous for its nutritional perspective. If you are non-vegetarian, you can opt salmon as an anti depression food. Six ounces of salmon contain more than half of your daily needs of omega-3 fatty acids. Experts generally recommend it if you are are not vegetarian. Salmon is also effective food for preventing depression; try eating fish twice per week for maximum benefit.