Nutrients that matter in fighting depression

Paige Wood

| 2 min read

Depression affects almost 19 million Americans each year, and is an illness that no one is immune from. While loneliness and stress are common producers of depression, an unbalanced diet can also hinder our bodies from getting the necessary nutrients needed to help fight through depression. Here are three essential nutrients that can help you combat depression with your dinner plate.
Boost your serotonin
Serotonin is a natural neurotransmitter your body releases after food consumption. As one of the body’s major mood neurotransmitters, your serotonin level helps dictate your emotions and well-being. Those with depression are often found to have lower serotonin levels than average. If you are looking for a way to boost your serotonin level, eating carbohydrates is a great way to increase the serotonin in your system. However, be mindful of what kind of carbs you eat. Try eating more complex carbohydrates like brown rice or whole grains. Proteins such as chicken and turkey also help boost serotonin levels, though it’s best to have these dishes accompanied with a side of vegetables.
Stock up on your Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 Fatty Acids are considered to be an essential fatty acid necessary for a good diet, as our bodies cannot produce it naturally. Found in most fish and fish oils, omega-3 acids act as a mood regulator and help us to shape our outlook on life. For a balanced meal plan, it has been suggested that fish be eaten at least twice a week due to its high concentration of omega-3. However, if you are like me and not the biggest fan of fish, you can find this fatty acid in foods such as walnuts, soybeans or through fish oil supplements.
Get a daily dose of Vitamin B
Linked to healthy mental wellness, vitamin B12 aids our bodies in converting the food we eat into energy. Without a healthy amount of B12 within your diet, symptoms such as fatigue, a loss of appetite and confusion can appear. Foods with a high concentration of B12 include most protein and dairy products, such as meats, cheeses and milk. However, it’s best to moderate how much of these foods to include within your own diet. For a vegetarian alternative, soy milk and nutritional yeasts are good substitutes for your way of obtaining B12 without needing protein-rich meats.
In addition to a well-balanced diet, exercise and lots of sunshine are important to help break the grip of depression. Although what you eat isn’t all it takes to get rid of depression, small steps towards a healthy life can lead to a healthy mind.
Photo credit Meredith_Farmer

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
No Personal Healthcare Advice or Other Advice
This Web site provides general educational information on health-related issues and provides access to health-related resources for the convenience of our users. This site and its health-related information and resources are not a substitute for professional medical advice or for the care that patients receive from their physicians or other health care providers.
This site and its health-related information resources are not meant to be the practice of medicine, the practice of nursing, or to carry out any professional health care advice or service in the state where you live. Nothing in this Web site is to be used for medical or nursing diagnosis or professional treatment.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other licensed health care provider. Always consult your health care provider before beginning any new treatment, or if you have any questions regarding a health condition. You should not disregard medical advice, or delay seeking medical advice, because of something you read in this site.