Diet and depression: Know what to eat and avoid

A good diet can help someone who is depressed or suicidal.

The World Health Organization estimates that by 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of disability in the world. More than 300 million worldwide are affected by depression, with the illness being more common in females than in males. Yes, it's important to seek help for depression, but there are certain foods that will help you if you are despressed. Furthermore, if you know someone who is depressed or suicidal, you can help them with these foods too. Read: What is depression?

Niyati Likhite, Dietician, Fortis Hospital, Kaylan says, 'There are many lifestyle factors that can contribute to depression. Diet plays an important role in depression. Though there is no such specific diet for depression, there are certain foods that ease symptoms of depression by increasing serotonin levels, which regulates mood.'

Here's what to eat if you have depression:

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- Fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants (Beta-carotene, Vit C & Vit E) like carrots, broccoli, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potato, tomato, oranges, sweet lime, grapefruit, nuts and oil seeds.

- Complex carbohydrate-rich foods like cereals, pulses, fruits and vegetables.

- Protein-rich foods like chicken, fish, beans, milk, soy products and yogurt, as it contains tryptophan and selenium which helps to stimulate serotonin levels.

- Omega 3 fatty acids rich foods like fatty fish(mackerel, salmon, tuna, sardine), flax seeds, walnuts, avocados etc.

-Dark chocolates also help in releasing serotonin that relaxes blood vessels.

Read: Shaheen Bhatt opens up about depression. Here is why India needs to talk about this mental health issue

Foods to avoid: Remember to avoid foods high in sodium as these foods indirectly affect your mood and may cause depression.

- Refined foods.

- Processed foods.

- Fried foods.

- Excess of caffeine.

- Alcohol and smoking.

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