Several studies indicate that the foods you eat determine your overall health, which is why you experience a sense of happiness or rush of adrenaline with certain indulgences. However, it is not always possible to indulge in foods that lift your spirits. Luckily, there are several healthy choices that trigger certain neural responses to help manage problems such as depression, anxiety, and stress. Here are the top five types of foods to help manage depression.
- Fermented foods, beverages, and probiotics
Research shows that healthy digestion of foods releases live bacteria that promotes the production of serotonin in the gut. Almost all vital neurotransmitters are produced in the gut. Serotonin helps regulate mood, behavior, response to stress, appetite, and even influences a person’s vigor. Yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, miso, tempeh, pickled vegetables, kimchi, and kombucha are excellent fermented foods that improve gut function. Buttermilk is also an excellent fermented beverage that is readily available and can be safely consumed on a daily basis. Alternatively, one can consume organic and natural probiotic supplements but only after consulting with a nutritionist.
- Fatty fish
A deficiency of omega 3 can affect brain function. So, include fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids as they are one of the best foods to help manage depression. Omega 3 alters the chemical structure of your brain and boosts dopamine and serotonin levels in the body, this helps manage any discomforts associated with depression. Salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, herring, and other types of fatty fish can help lower anxiety.
- Lean meats
Lean cuts of meat from sources like chicken and turkey are some foods that are rich in protein and help manage depression. Lean meats are rich in a compound known as tryptophan, an amino acid that is mainly responsible for the natural production of serotonin. Healthy levels of tryptophan are directly linked to mood-boosting neurotransmitters.
- Green vegetables
Vitamin B folates are essential compounds that regulate the body’s metabolic activity and can affect the production of serotonin and dopamine. Leafy greens are always one of the most healthy choices and play a major role in boosting your mood. Vegetables like spinach, edamame, artichokes, broccoli, avocado, and turnip greens are rich in folates. Including them in your daily diet will help promote the production of vital neurotransmitters that regulate mood.
- Other foods
There are a few exceptions apart from regular healthy foods that boost mood. For example, dark chocolate contains flavonoids that promote blood flow to the brain and reduce inflammation. Certain fruits such as bananas are rich in vitamin B6 and fiber, compounds that help manage blood sugar levels naturally. Additionally, certain berries are rich in antioxidants that help combat the oxidative damage that can contribute to depression.