What are the Best Foods for Depression?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

Many people know that there are a number of foods to avoid when combating depression — specifically beverages that contain caffeine or alcohol — but few know that there are foods that can help fight depression. It is important to note that anyone suffering from depression should consult with a doctor to determine the best course of action for this condition. Those who have already done this and are looking for complementary care, may try incorporating some of these foods into their diets. Some of the best foods for depression are foods that contain Omega-3 fats, B vitamins, and amino acids.

Walnuts are rich in fatty acids, which may help relieve depression.
Walnuts are rich in fatty acids, which may help relieve depression.

Studies have shown that people who up their intake of Omega-3 fats have a decrease in symptoms of depression and related issues such as anxiety and insomnia. There are a number of ways to get Omega-3 fats into one's diet. The simplest way is to take a supplement, but there are also a number of foods that are rich in Omega-3 fats. Salmon and tuna are some of the best foods for depression because they are high in Omega-3 fats.

Peas are a good source of B vitamins and other nutrients that may help treat depression.
Peas are a good source of B vitamins and other nutrients that may help treat depression.

Flaxseeds and walnuts are also good sources of Omega-3s. So enjoying a piece of grilled salmon, ordering up some delicious tuna at the sushi bar, or having walnuts as a mid-day snack are all good ways to incorporate some of the best foods for depression into one's diet. Flaxseeds can be sprinkled over cereal or added to salads. Amino acids are also found in meat and fish as well as beans.

Salmon, a source of Omega-3, can help someone suffering from depression.
Salmon, a source of Omega-3, can help someone suffering from depression.

Like Omega-3 fats, B vitamins can be added to one's diet in the form of a supplement or in the form of specific foods. The various vitamins in the B vitamin family can be found in a number of foods, including whole grains such as brown rice and oats, fresh fruits and vegetables, and legumes. Vitamin B-12 comes primarily from animal products such as meat and dairy products. Consuming a healthy variety of fresh produce and whole grains is a great way to get B vitamins.

People who are suffering from depression should consult with a doctor to determine the best course of action.
People who are suffering from depression should consult with a doctor to determine the best course of action.

Some of the best foods for depression include peas, sardines, bananas, and breakfast cereals that are high in fiber. These foods include a number of the vitamins and nutrients discussed above. There are also some foods that have been known to boost one's mood. For this reason, dark chocolate and chilies are often included on lists for the best foods for depression.

Sardines -- a type of small fish in the herring family -- are rich in calcium and other minerals, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Sardines -- a type of small fish in the herring family -- are rich in calcium and other minerals, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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Discussion Comments

Sporkasia

Animandel - I agree with you when you say natural foods are better for treating disease. Only, remember that for many people with depression natural foods are not nearly enough. Drugs are necessary to help many people with the disease function and carry on normal lives. There are many depression types, and some of these react better to diet than others. Some are not manageable without drugs

It's easy to sit here and criticize big drug companies, but there is a reason why they are big drug companies: Some of their products contribute significantly to our well being.

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Animandel

Drentel - What you said about caffeine makes sense. When I don't get enough sleep my mood and energy definitely suffer in a big way.

The article mentioned a lot of foods that are good for depression. I think it is great that people have so many natural options to put together a depression diet to help them with depression. So often, we simply hear about the manufactured drugs when we try to learn how to fight diseases.

Drentel

Animandel - From what I have read, there isn't a direct link between caffeine and depression. However, drinking coffee and sodas can interfere with normal sleep patterns. So if you can't sleep then there is a good chance that your depression will worsen.

Alcohol, on the other hand, somehow screws up the central nervous system in the body and acts like a depressant. This is the last thing you need when you are suffering with depression already.

When I was in college, I never thought of alcohol as a depressant and I sometimes used it as a depression treatment. Wish I knew then what I know now.

Animandel

I just learned something. I thought caffeine was good for depression. After all, it is a stimulant, and I thought that would help get people going. Good thing no one asked me for my remedies for depression.

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