Due to the nature of my job, I often meet people with depression or people with a low mood. Very often the medical profession overlooks the importance of nutrition for treating depression. Food plays a huge role in our physical, mental and emotional health and making some small diet changes can have a hugely positive effect if you are suffering with depression.
Tips for improving mood and fighting depression:
- Check your vitamin D3 levels. Vitamin D should ideally be between 40-60 ng/ml. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to depression so if your levels are low or borderline talk with your doctor or dietitian to find the right vitamin D dose to supplement your diet.
- Add probiotic foods (or a probiotic supplement) to your diet. Our gut is considered to be our second brain. The trillions of gut bacteria that live in our gut “communicate with our brain” via the production of neurotransmitters that act on the brain. In fact about 90% of serotonin, a chemical that acts on the brain and is thought to regulate anxiety, happiness and mood is produced by our gut bacteria. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression.
- Increase the omega-3 fatty acids. The best source of omega-3 fatty acids is oily fish such as sardines, wild Alaskan salmon, trout, seabream and seabass. Ideally you should eat these types of fish about two times per week. For optimum results on brain function it is best to use an omega-3 supplement. Choose a supplement which is tested for their safety and clarity and is certified by an international organisation such as IFOS and that is high in EPA and DHA, two brain enhancing fatty acids.
- Minimize sugar in your diet and increase fiber rich and nutrient rich foods such as fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid processed foods and choose a diet with fresh and whole ingredients.
- Avoid caffeine.
- Avoid gluten, as it has been shown to increase inflammation in the body and the brain in particular.
- Try to identify food intolerances and to exclude triggering foods from your diet.
Stay, safe, stay healthy.
You can do this.
Dietitian / Nutritionist
M.Sc. Nutritional Medicine