Feeling a little down and depressed? There are some great feel good foods that reduce depression.
What comes to your mind when you think of “comfort foods”? Your mom’s fried chicken or your favorite mac and cheese? I know it is hard for me to ever pass on the mashed potatoes and gravy. And pasta? I could eat it every day. These high carb foods are typically thought of as comfort food.
But even though these foods are considered comforting they don’t provide any relief from depression or anxiety. In fact, in the long run they can do the opposite – as well as expand your waistline.
Foods that Reduce Depression and Anxiety
Just about everyone encounters depression at some time in their life. Perhaps a loved one passed away, you got divorced, lost your job, or even had to move to a new home. These are all things that can make you depressed.
Veterans often face some unique challenges. There is a lot of stress, that sometimes leads to depression, when making the transition from military to civilian life. Eating right and including some of the foods we’ve listed below will help your body and mental wellness.
PTSD often occurs with depression, substance abuse, or other anxiety disorders.
Instead of reaching for the nearest bag of potato chips or gallon of ice cream, try some of these foods that reduce depression.
Berries – Antioxidants and Vitamin C
Blueberries pack a powerful punch when it comes to antioxidants and vitamins K and C. These delicious berries are considered a superfood for good reason and some claim that they help prevent cancers and heart disease.
It’s not just about the blue. All berries including raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries are loaded with vitamin C. The big C vitamin has been shown to help fight stress and lower blood pressure.
If you are depressed, vitamin C is worth considering.
Source: Dr. Hugh D. Riordan, M.D.
Surprise! Chocolate can Help Depression
You can thank me later for this one. We are beyond thrilled to add this delectable indulgence to our list of foods that reduce depression.
Chocolate also has antioxidants. Go for the dark chocolate instead of a milk chocolate. Now we don’t mean that you should drown your sorrows with a box of chocolate but there are advantages.
Dark chocolate can be consumed a few times a week in moderation. A tip I’ve used is to take a few dark chocolate chips and eat them one at a time – enjoying every bit of the wonderful flavor. Count them out. Depending on the brand, there are only about 50 calories in a dozen or so chips.
Garlic for Depression
Garlic is steeped in ancient history. The Egyptians believed whole heartedly that garlic had medicinal value. In Chinese medicine the pungent cloves were believed to possess miraculous properties as far back as 2000BC.
Garlic is believed to improve the production of serotonin, a chemical in the brain that is responsible for regulating your mood. Many think that eating garlic raw provides the best results. If you can’t stomach it raw, try just very lightly sautéing it in olive oil.
Oatmeal – The Breakfast of Champions
If you’ve ever been soothed by the warmth and flavor of a nice bowl of oatmeal, then you know what I’m talking about. Oatmeal also produces that feel good chemical, serotonin. With the serotonin, fiber and minerals, this naturally gluten-free breakfast is one of the great foods that reduce depression.
Go steel cut. Steel cut oats are processed differently than rolled oats. They are not pre-cooked and start from the whole grain. And we all know whole grain foods are better.
Turkey – It’s not just for Thanksgiving
Many lean sources of protein work for reducing depression. But turkey has a special edge. The tryptophan in turkey stimulates serotonin that helps make you feel good. No wonder Thanksgiving is such a happy time of year.
You don’t have to cook the full bird to take advantage of turkey’s benefits. Add it to soup, get it at the deli and make a sandwich, or eat it as a snack with cheese and crackers.
That’s right. I said the F word. Fish with a high fat content like tuna, salmon, mackerel, and bluefish are some of the best sources of Omega 3. Foods that contain high amounts of Omega 3 help keep nerves calmed and make people feel happier. Omega 3s are also known for improving circulation and reducing inflammation.
Bonus: These fatty fish also give your hair and skin a healthy glow.
There are many things that contribute to depression and likewise many ways to combat it. Try these foods that reduce depression and anxiety and let us know in the comment section below if they help.