DIET AND FITNESS:

Top 10 Foods That Fight
Depression -A Comprehensive
Review
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February 23, 2010, last updated August 25, 2013

By Katrina Devine, Contributing Columnist, and Susan
Callahan, Associate Editor

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of
Doctors, Registered Nurses and other members of our
Editorial Board.]




If you have the blues, you're not alone. According to the
Centers for Disease Control, depression affects 1 in 5
Americans. That's over
60 million people. In fact, depression
is a worldwide problem. According to a study published in
the British Journal of Psychology in 2004, depression is the
4th leading cause of disability (loss days from work, inability
to function) in the world, accounting for 12% all years lived
with disabilities worldwide.

Depression can steal your life slowly, one lost day at a time.
Unless you treat depression, you literally can lose years in a
fog of depression.

Like its sufferers, depression comes in many different forms.
The most severe form of depression is usually referred to as
"clinical depression". This form of depression usually lasts a
great amount of time and affects a person’s day-to-day life
almost entirely.  

People who are experiencing clinical depression often find
that they cannot function at work, lose sexual desire, lose
desire for hobbies or things that used to interest them.  If
you are severely depressed, you may not even be able to get
out of bed.

If you are a friend of someone who is clinically depressed,
you may notice that they cancel your social dates for no
reason, and they may seem listless and withdrawn. You may
notice that their eating habits have changes and that they
have gained a lot of weight --many who are depressed use
food to medicate their feelings -- or, conversely, that they
are losing weight without trying because they have lost all
interest in food.

If you think you may be suffering from a severe form of
depression, then it is important that you visit your doctor to
prescribe treatment. If you are a friend of someone who you
suspect is clinically depressed, you have to let other family
members know and take action to get them help.  The root
cause is a chemical imbalance in the brain.


Mild depression is something that a lot of us have gone
through in our lives and can cause ups and downs in our
moods. University College London in 2009 found that eating
a diet of fast food and processed foods can contribute to
depression. So which foods can help fight mild depression?
Is there an ideal diet for depression?

Here is a Top 10 list:


























1.
Fish Helps Depression.  Certain fish are rich in essential
oils called omega-3 fatty acids. The links between omega-3
fatty acids and depression have been proven in several
different studies. The most famous was conducted at
Harvard in 1999. That study found that
omega-3 helped
significant improve moods. Omega-3 can also lessen irritably.
The best sources of omega-3  are found in fish such as
salmon (wild, non-farmed), anchovies, mackerel, herring and
sardines. In addition to alleviating depression,
fish oils have
been linked to alleviation of several other disorders,
including schizophrenia.

2. Nuts and Seeds Elevate Your Mood. Don’t eat fish? Try
nuts and seeds as an alternative. Omega-3 fatty acids can be
found in Hazel nuts, pecans, walnuts, hempseeds and
flaxseed. Not only do they contain omega-3 they also contain
B vitamins. A joint study between the University of Navarra
and the University of Las Palmas, Spain in 2009 found that B
vitamins are associated with positive moods and reduce the
chances of mild depression. Vitamin B1 can be found in
sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, Brazil nuts, cashew nuts,
almonds and walnuts.

[Update:

Some nuts and seeds contain a specific form of omega-3
fatty acid known as alpha-linolenic acid. Alpa-linolenic acid
has been linked strongly to lower risk of depression. A 10 -
year study of 54,632 women by researchers from the
Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School
found that those women whose diets contain the highest
amounts of this acid were 18% less likely to suffer from
depression.

What foods are high in alpha linolenic acid?  Flaxseeds and
walnuts are particularly high in alpa-linolenic acid. Flaxseeds
contain about 2.2 grams per tablespoon and walnuts contain
about .7 g in a tablespoon. Other sources include canola oil,
soybeans and soy oil, perilla and pumpkin seeds.]

3.
Greens Help You Stay Positive. The Spanish study also
recommended vegetables as an ally against depression.  
Pantothenic acid, also known as vitamin B5, can be found in
avocados. The other main B vitamins can be found in
mushrooms, pumpkins and green peppers.  

A 1997 Harvard study found links between lack of folate,
also known as folic acid, and depressive symptoms.
Vegetables that are good sources of folic acid include
broccoli, Brussel sprouts and asparagus. It’s important not
to overcook vegetables as they can lose their vitamin content.


4.
Fruit Also Help Depression.   Vegetables’ natural
companion in healthy eating is always fruit.   Flavonoids are
the key here. Flavonoids are frequently referred to as
antioxidants. A study completed in 2005 in Beijing, China
found that flavonoids can inhibit the symptoms of mild
depression. They are mostly found in citrus fruits like
oranges and grapefruits.


5.
Olive Oil Raises Your Mood. The University of California-
San Francisco released a major research study on olive oil in
2009. They found that olive oil can also help in fighting
depression.
Olive oil is a source of omega-3 but also contains
good fats that keep the heart healthy and can even help you
to live longer


6. Certain Cereals Can Help Depression.  Sugary cereals are
best avoided but whole cereals such as oatmeal contain
vitamins B-1 and B-6 which as mentioned have been linked
to improving mood. It is important to pick the right cereal;
even cereals claiming to be healthy are not always. You
should look for cereals that have whole grains or barley and
always check the sugar content. (University of Bristol, 1998)


7.
Chickpeas and other pulses/legumes. Chickpeas are a
healthy, fast and versatile food and they fight depression
too. One of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to get the
benefits from chickpeas is hummus. They contain B vitamins
and folic acid. Other pulses and legumes that beneficial
include; soy beans, lentils, butter beans, haricot beans, split
peas, blackeye beans and kidney beans. (UofLP&UofN, Spain,
2009)


8.
Eat Brown Rice to Fight Depression.   As mentioned the
study done by University College London in 2009 showed
that highly refined foods can lead to depression. Therefore
eating foods like brown rice which slowly release glucose
into the blood stream prevents the highs and lows
experienced with processed foods. In addition brown rice
contains B vitamins and folic acid. This is also for whole
pastas. Also Potatoes that are baked or boiled are filling and
contain B vitamins.


9.
Chocolate Can Raise Your Mood.  Researchers have
confirmed what many a broken heart has already discovered.
Chocolate can lift your spirits.

Well, this one comes with a warning. We all wish chocolate
was the answer to life’s troubles but too much of a good
thing is bad for us and chocolate is good for us. The higher
the percentage of cocoa in the chocolate the better. A 1995
University of Dundee study found that chocolate contains
certain chemicals that affect the brain by releasing
endorphins and serotonin. These are the chemicals that
signal your brain to feel happy.

One small piece of chocolate per day can help boost your
mood. But be careful. Eat too much and you risk feelings of
guilt and weight gain. (Read more about the Top 10
health
benefits of chocolate.)


10.
Tea to the Rescue.  Tea contains valuable flavonoids.
After citrus fruits it is the best source of these. Experts have
also found that tea, especially brewed green tea, affects the
body by stimulating sections of the brain that produce a
feeling of relaxation. This can be beneficial to those who are
feeling anxious or having problems sleeping. Some herbal
teas like chamomile can also help with relaxation. (University
of Nagoya, Japan, 2007)


Related:
Foods That Fight Schizophrenia

Salmon Health Benefits

Top 7 Things That Shrink Your Brain

Fish Oil /Top 10 Foods That Fight Anemia / How Much Is
Too Much Salt? /Sugar-The Disease Connection / Are Diet
Sodas Bad for Your Health? / Ideal Breakfast for Diabetics /
Ideal Breakfast for Arthritis /Healing Foods Links /  Foods
That Shrink Your Waist / Foods That Lower Cholesterol/
VLDL-
The Other Cholesterol/ Foods That Reduce Blood
Pressure

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oranges help fight depression
Oranges help to fight depression.