Healing Kitchen

A link between food and mood can be traced to neurotransmitter activity in the brain. Complex carbohydrates as well as certain food components such as folate (folic acid), magnesium, niacin, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, and tryptophan may decrease symptoms of depression.

We believe that it's possible to manage and/or improve certain conditions through what you eat. When we create "Mega-Recipes" for an ailment, we strive to include the maximum number of the nutrients that are shown to have benefit for that ailment. We also expect the Mega-Recipe to contain at least 25% of recommended intakes for those nutrients. See the list of recipes that have met our criteria for this ailment.

What You Should Eat & Why

complex carbohydrates
Consuming foods that are high in tryptophan along with foods high in complex carbohydrates will help enhance the proper absorption of typtophan more effectively. Carboydrates may also boost serotonin activity in the brain. Foods that are often referred to as "comfort foods" tend to be high in complex carbohydrates.
Leading Food Sources of complex carbohydrates: Broccoli, Rice, brown, Potatoes, Blackberries, Pasta, wheat, Squash, winter

folic acid
Because folic acid is often deficient in people who are depressed, getting more of this vitamin through foods may help. The vitamin appears to have the ability to reduce the high levels of homocysteine associated with depression.
Leading Food Sources of folic acid: Asparagus, Beets, Spinach, Avocados, Brussels sprouts, Bok choy, Cabbage, Savoy, Beans, dried, Chick-peas, Soybeans, Lentils, Oranges, Peas, fresh, Turkey, Broccoli

Magnesium is a mineral that may ease symptoms of depression by acting as a muscle relaxant.
Leading Food Sources of magnesium: Spinach, Chocolate, Pumpkin seeds, Oysters, Sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, Amaranth, Buckwheat, Avocados, Quinoa, Almonds, Barley

Based on niacin's well-recognized role in promoting sound nerve cell function, some experts recommend this B vitamin for relieving depression as well as feelings of anxiety and panic. Most B-vitamin complexes contain niacin in sufficient amounts for this purpose; they also offer the mood-enhancing benefits of other B vitamins.
Leading Food Sources of niacin: Rice, brown, Chicken, Pomegranates, Tuna, Lamb, Wheat, Turkey

omega-3 fatty acids
Certain omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial for depression. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega 3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid that is the building block of human brain tissue. Low levels of DHA have been associated with depression.
Leading Food Sources of omega-3 fatty acids: Salmon, Trout, Tuna

Date Published: 05/03/2005
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