Depression can make you feel that you are perpetually in a downward spiral. One of the tools that is most commonly used to tackle this situation is food. A depressed person is usually inclined towards calorie- and sugar-heavy foods, such as cookies, chocolates, and ice cream, that can lift their spirits. However, while the sugar rush may seem to soothe your condition, in the long run, it can lead to a plethora of problems, starting from weight gain to increased chances of heart, liver, and kidney-related diseases.
On the other side, there are also those who refrain from eating and therefore, lose weight considerably. This can also lead to potentially life-threatening problems in several organs. One of the best possible ways to boost your mood is to opt for healthy foods that not only help you manage the condition, but also put you on the path to recovery. Here are five of them:
1. Dark chocolate
Cannabinoids are compounds that have been known to improve mood. Dark chocolate has N-acylethanolamine, a substance that is largely similar to cannabinoids. In addition, the caffeine and theobromine present in dark chocolate create a cascading effect of feel-good compounds, thereby elevating one’s mood immediately. Dark chocolate also contains flavonoids, which increase blood flow to the brain, thereby reducing inflammation and boasting overall brain health. However, ensure that you opt for only dark chocolate, as milk chocolate has sugar and fat as the major ingredients.
2. Fatty fish
Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential group of fats that the body cannot make on its own and has to acquire from outside. Albacore tuna and salmon are replete with omega-3 fatty acids, which have been known to improve various mood disorders. Further, omega-3 fatty acids facilitate fluidity in the membranes of the brain cells, which, in turn, plays a role in cell signaling and brain development. You can eat fatty fish up to three times a week.
Who doesn’t get better with coffee? Coffee is considered the world’s favorite drink, and it contains all the needed ingredients to boost your mood. Caffeine increases attention and alertness, which is mostly lacking in someone with depression. Coffee also helps the body release dopamine and norepinephrine, which are mood-boosting neurotransmitters.
4. Fermented foods
Fermented foods, such as yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha, are known to improve gut health. These foods allow live bacteria to convert sugars into acids and alcohol. This process supports the existence of healthy bacteria in the gut, which can increase serotonin levels in the brain.
5. Lentils and beans
Lentils and beans are not only rich in fiber and proteins, but they are also replete with feel-good nutrients. Vitamin B, which is found in these legumes, helps elevate mood by increasing the levels of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, among other chemical compounds. In addition, these vitamins play a crucial role in signaling, which enables smooth communication between various nerve cells. Deficiency of vitamins B and B12, and folate has often been linked to mood disorders and even depression.