Current evidence suggests that either a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids or an imbalance in the ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in the brain may be a factor in depression. To correct this imbalance, experts recommend upping your consumption of omega-3 fatty acids by consuming smaller cold-water fish - such as herring, mackerel, wild salmon or sardines. Larger fish and farmed fish, however, should be avoided due to concerns about toxic mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls in their flesh.
If you don't like fish, fish oil capsules are a convenient way to get more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet without having to eat fish.
2. Nuts and Seeds
If you are allergic to fish, or prefer a vegetarian source of omega-3 fatty acids, many nuts and seeds - for example, walnuts, flax seeds (either the oil or ground flaxseed is fine) and chia seeds - can also help you increase your intake of this essential nutrient.
In addition, nuts are a good source of trace minerals like magnesium and selenium. Low levels of these nutrients have been associated in various studies with depression, so increasing your intake could be helpful.
3. Whole Grains
Whole grains tend to be rich in the B vitamins. And, because studies have demonstrated both a link between B vitamin deficiencies and depression and a protective effect in those who consume adequate levels of these vitamins, eating more whole grains could be helpful in fighting depression.
In addition to the B vitamins, whole grains are also a good source of magnesium, deficiencies of which have been linked to depression symptoms.
Some examples of whole grains are whole wheat breads and pastas, brown rice and oats.
4. Leafy Green Vegetables
Leafy green vegetables are a good source of folic acid, as well as magnesium. Low levels of both have been linked to increased rates of depression.
Leafy green vegetables include foods like spinach, kale and broccoli.
5. Foods to Avoid
Eating a good diet for depression isn't just about adding in more healthy foods, however. It's also about avoiding foods which may contribute to your low moods. Cutting down, or eliminating altogether, foods which have been associated with depression symptoms, like processed sugars; caffeine-containing beverages like coffee, tea and soda; and alcohol will go a long way in helping you feel better as well.
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