These days, it’s not uncommon to hear about depression. In fact, a 2020 study from the National Institute of Mental Health found that clinical depression affects around 8.4% of Americans ages 18 and older. However, research shows that lifestyle and dietary changes can help ease clinical depression in addition to doctor-prescribed medications and counseling. Here are some superfoods to help ease depression symptoms:
1. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate does more than taste great, this scrumptious sweet also contains ingredients that affect the functioning of the brain in a positive way. For example, cocoa flavanols in dark chocolate help reduce high blood pressure, while phenylethylamine regulates mood swings and encourages positive thinking.
2. Leafy greens
Lettuce, spinach, kale, and other leafy greens are some of the best foods for fighting depression because they have a high nutritional value that not only keeps you healthy, but also directly affects mental health. Medical researchers believe that a deficiency in folate can lead to depression. However, leafy greens are full of folate, which may significantly improve depression symptoms.
These sea delicacies are full of nutrients that are essential to your mental and physical health. Oysters are particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which effectively curb the symptoms of depression. Oysters also contain an abundance of zinc, which many depression sufferers are deficient in. Actually, researchers believe a deficiency of zinc is a major contributing factor for many mood disorders.
4. Eggs with the yolk
There is a reason that soaking up the sun can put you in a better mood—it’s like bathing in vitamin D! Egg yolks contain an abundance of vitamin D, and a deficiency of this vitamin has been linked to mood swings and depression.
5. Dark berries
Dark berries are full of antioxidants which help regulate many systems in the body and mind. For instance, an antioxidant rich diet helps fight against harmful free radicals, as well as regulating emotions and reducing the negative impact of stress.
6. Beans and lentils
Beans and lentils are the superfood of superfoods because they contain almost every nutrient of all the other foods on this list combined! In fact, researchers note that diets rich in beans and legumes have significant mental-enhancing powers, making them the ultimate depression-fighting foods.
7. Fermented foods
While the link between fermented foods and improved mental health isn’t fully understood, there is no doubt that the rich wealth of probiotics (or beneficial bacteria) within helps to regulate gut health, which goes hand in hand with good mental health. Look to fermented foods such as kimchi, miso, kombucha, and sauerkraut to get your fill.