The current trend in health and nutrition invites us to follow a natural diet of plant origin. In fact, it is considered one of the most sustainable measures to prevent degenerative diseases, live longer, enjoy a healthy weight and also to protect emotional health. As such there is no diet created to combat depression and anxietyHowever, there are diet plans that, thanks to their nutrient density, are highly recommended by specialists as a complementary part of the treatment.
The good news is that every day the close relationship between diet and mental health. In fact, it is currently such a relevant topic that it has inspired an entire field of medicine called nutritional psychiatry. There is no doubt what we eat is important for all aspects of our health, but especially for our mental health. Based on this, in recent years there have been various studies and research papers that support the existence of a link between diet and the risk of suffering from mental health disorders, specifically depression.
In fact, the renowned Harvard University has proven that following a dietary pattern characterized by a high intake of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, olive oil, low-fat dairy and antioxidants, and a low intake of foods of animal origin are associated with a lower risk of depression. On the contrary, and for obvious reasons, those dietary patterns that are characterized by a high consumption of red and processed meats, refined grains, sugars, fatty dairy products, fast and processed foods, together with a low intake of fruits and vegetables. It is a lifestyle that increases the risk of suffering from depression and deteriorates health in various aspects.
So the first question that arises is What comes first? Bad diet or depression? In the first instance we can say that being depressed makes us more prone to neglect our diet, therefore eating foods much less healthy and rich in calories. considering the increased cases of depression and anxiety This last year derived from the Covid-19 pandemic, fortunately the researchers have paid special attention to the subject. Among the most relevant findings, the scientists discovered that a diet similar to the Mediterranean was associated with a considerably lower risk of developing depressive symptoms. Based on the recommendations of the experts, we took on the task of selecting the essential nutrients that an antidepressant diet should have.
What are the basic nutrients and foods to fight depression?
Everything good for your health is found in foods rich in antioxidants. In principle they are essential since have the ability to prevent cell damage in our body and thus combat the effect of free radicals that are associated with cell damage, aging and a long list of chronic diseases. While it is impossible to completely avoid the presence of free radicals, consuming foods rich in antioxidants can potentially decrease their destructive effect. Therefore, it is essential to bet on the consumption of foods higher in antioxidants and beta-carotene: apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrot, collard greens, peaches, squash, spinach, berries, tomatoes, garlic, artichokes, sweet potatoes, and green tea.
Berries / Photo: Pexels
2. Vitamin C
Numerous scientific studies have been dedicated to studying the relationship between vitamin C and depression. And the findings have been overwhelming, according to information released by the Mayo Clinic it has been shown that people who have vitamin C deficiencies they often feel fatigued or depressed. The good news is that as an important part of the treatment and dietary specifications of patients with depression, increasing vitamin C intake through colorful and delicious foods improves mood considerably. Not for nothing has vitamin C been named by many as a powerful natural antidepressant. The consumption of: blueberries, broccoli, grapefruit, kiwi, oranges, red peppers, potatoes, strawberries, tomato, parsley, grapes, basil, fennel and papaya is recommended.
Citrus / Photo: Pixabay
3. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is one of the most powerful antioxidants that exist, it is basic in many beauty products, however it has been proven that it provides great benefits on a physical and emotional level. That is why it is a basic for protect us from mental and emotional disorders, therefore consuming vitamin E is a basic nutritional addition to improve concentration, avoid anxiety and treat mild depression. In turn, it protects the brain from degenerative diseases. Bet on the consumption of foods such as butter, nuts and seeds, vegetable oils, wheat germ, spinach and broccoli.
Nuts. / Photo: Shutterstock
4. Complex carbohydrates
In recent months with the growing popularity of the ketogenic diet, carbohydrates have been branded as the bad guys. However, fortunately today we know that not all carbohydrates are the same And consuming the right sources can have an outstanding calming effect. What happens is that complex carbohydrates are a good ally for naturally increase serotonin levels, a brain chemical that improves mood and fights depressive states. In fact, there are several references from experts in medicine and nutrition, who endorse that excessive carbohydrate cravings are usually related to low serotonin activity The secret? Choose the best sources of intelligent or complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes, they are also very rich in fiber that also benefits health at all levels. Avoid at all costs the consumption of simple and processed carbohydrates.
5. Proteins of high biological value
Foods rich in protein increase alertness and are characterized by their content in an amino acid that is very important in mood: tryptophan. Which is essential in the production of serotonin. Specialists recommend integrating the consumption of proteins of high biological value several times a day, especially when you need clear your mind and increase your energy. Among the most recommended sources are plant and animal foods, such as beans, peas, lean beef, low-fat cheese, fatty fish, milk, poultry, soy products, and yogurt.
Fish steak. / Photo: Pexels