How to Fight Depression with Nutrition

Depression can be fought in part, with food.  The vitamins you are looking for are B12, B6 and Omega3.  These vitamins correlate to another enzyme that helps your brain produce serotonin.  Depression, no matter the cause, is a temporary or chronic production of low-levels of serotonin.  When your serotonin levels are too low, it is hard to enjoy life, be it a moment of sun in the middle of winter or a sea breeze in the summer--it’s significance simply does not register with you.  You can’t be happy about it, because you can’t turn up the production of serotonin required to feel happy.

Get the Right Vitamins

So it is important that you get enough B12, B6, and Omega 3. Fish such as cod, salmon, halibut, trout, tuna and snapper are good sources of Omega 3, as are walnuts.  B6 sources include nuts: peanuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts; and veggies: skin-on baked potatoes, yams, broccoli, green peas, bell pepper, asparagus, spinach and turnip greens. Turkey and eggs are also good for a depression-reducing diet. Berries are one of the best-depression fighting fruits.  The (*) tryptophan in turkeys stimulates serotonin production.

If your depression led you to eat the wrong foods and you are looking to lose weight as well as fight depression, it is actually very simple to integrate the two nutrient requirements for these efforts.  

Eat Small Meals, But More Often - Actually, Drink Raw Smoothies!

First, rather than three meals a day, you want six.  All of your “meals” should be no larger than a snack.  Start your morning with a smoothie.  See that hazelnuts are on the list for depression? You can purchase hazel nut milk; use that in the place of your almond milk for a smoothie. Hazelnuts are a bit sweeter than almonds, but very tasty.

For your morning snack, try a fruit salad that contains berries and fresh fruit, or try a berry muffin made with whole grains or oats.    For lunch, try a tuna-avocado guacamole in a lettuce wrap.  Have mixed nuts with dried fruit, and add just a few chocolate-covered M&M’s to fight that sweet craving.  But eat your entire portion of nuts and fruit. Then, for dinner, try a quinoa stuffed bell pepper.  

The Benefits of Quinoa and Tarts

Quinoa is a grain with complex proteins, so it makes a good meat substitute.  Add spinach, tomatoes and olives, into the quinoa and cook per directions.  If your directions call for vegetable oil, use olive oil. For desert, try a fruit tart on a nutty vegan crust. Vegan crusts omit dairy, but maximizes protein. You can build crusts out of the very nuts that will help you obtain the needed levels of omega3 and B6.  

Making tarts is a good way to utilize fresh fruit. You only need to cook the crust.  You can make a glaze out of honey, rather than sugar.  This tart could also be breakfast. Should you use a honey glaze, if you make certain that it is local honey, and you eat it every day for two weeks, you can also build up a natural immunity to local allergens. This won’t help you if you go on vacation to a spot that is home to plants you’re also allergic to, but it will help you in your own backyard.

Find the Right Recipes

When recipe hunting for depression-fighting meals, seek out meals that incorporate more than one of the ingredients that will help stabilize your mood. If you are also trying to lose weight, do the same with those foods, too.  Look for recipes that can lead to developing healthier patterns by integrating as much variety of fruits, veggies, and nuts in a single meal as possible. Focus on using only grains that give you complete proteins, so that you are not dependent on meat for protein.

However, do make sure that you eat fish a few times a week.  Also, make turkey your primary meat.  Remember meat and eggs are not the only source of protein available to you.  In fact, nuts, grains, and soy products are better for you.  So use them liberally, and be certain to keep your portions consistent.

Planning out your meals can be fun.  Turn menu making into a creative exercise and structure your meals like a puzzle.  You’ll be amazed how many dishes you can make out of the aforementioned suggested meats, nuts, fruits and veggies.  Step outside your usual meal routine, and experiment with the many recipes that are out there on the internet.

(*) Reference:

  • Tryptophan in Turkeys -

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