The link between our Diet and Depression

The link between our Diet and Depression

Today is R U OKAY DAY, we thought we would share a post on how nutrition can help with depression. There is a clear link between our diet and depression that many don’t realise exists. Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain, and although it can’t be avoided completely, our diets can help influence the way we feel. People who suffer from depression often have negative thoughts about how they feel about themselves, they lose interest in work, their hobbies and don’t enjoy doing things they normally would. They may lack energy, and feel low often, have difficulty sleeping or sleep more than usual and feel irritable often. The statistics are very scary, with almost 1 in 5 experiencing it at some point in their life. We have put together a list of some foods and vitamins that are essential in overcoming depression.

The link between our Diet and Depression

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 Fatty Acids play a vital role in the development and function of the central nervous system. Foods such as salmon, avocado’s, nuts and seeds are great sources of Omega 3’s, as well as flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts and importantly hemp seeds. Studies have found that individuals taking medication for depression have found that 1 to 2 grams a day of omega-3 addition’s to their diet whether that be supplement form or intake of food have found a measurable reduction in symptoms.

Low G.I Foods

Keeping bloody sugar levels stable can be critical for someone that suffers from depression. If they have large fluctuations in blood sugar levels, so can their moods. Having smaller, regular meals can also stabilise blood sugar levels. Foods that are low in G.I are fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. These all help stabilise blood sugar levels and help reduce sugar cravings. Cinnamon is also another blood sugar stabiliser that can be added to smoothies, sprinkled over fresh fruit or had with hot water.

B Vitamins

B Vitamins are important for red blood cell formation and the production of energy. Low levels of B Vitamins can leave an individual feeling flat and low on energy. They’re also considered anti-stress nutrients which help to relieve anxiety and can help in treating depression. Vitamin B-12 and other B Vitamins also plays a critical role in producing brain chemicals that affect mood and other brain functions. Low levels of B Vitamins may be linked to depression.  Foods that are high in B Vitamins are found naturally in animal proteins, such as meat, fish, poultry, milk products and eggs. The foods containing the largest amounts of B Vitamins are shellfish, fish, beef and lamb.  They are also found in green-leafy vegetables, so be sure to load up on these!

Vitamin D

Vitamin has also been linked to helping depression sufferers. Especially in the winter months when we don’t see the sun as often. It is important to get out into the sun or use a Vitamin D supplement.

Even if you’re not a sufferer of depression you should avoid highly processed foods and sugary drinks. Foods that are high in carbohydrates, saturated fats and sugars put a heavy stress on our bodies and can lead to weight gain. Prevention is easier than a cure.

Contact Beyond Blue for any further information If you or a loved one need to talk to someone, please consider calling Lifeline on 13 11 14, or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.