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Make these diet changes if you are depressed

Find out the foods you should eat and avoid when you are depressed.

Written by Tania Tarafdar |Updated : March 22, 2017 10:18 AM IST

What you eat affects how you feel. While certain foods can boost your mood, a few of them can adversely affect how you feel by influencing metabolic processes, or by triggering immune system reactions. Nutritionist Payal Singhania tells you what diet you should take when you are not in the best of your spirits.

Foods to avoid

  • Ice cream and chocolates: Sugar leads to an increase in the number of stress hormones. The blood sugar and insulin spikes that accompany the consumption of refined sugar can also lead to irritability and increased food cravings.
  • Coffee: Sweet coffee drinks including most lattes and mochas which are made with sugary syrups, and espresso can make it difficult for you to sleep and a disrupted sleep can mess with your mental state.
  • Processed foods: High in sodium, fat and artificial additives and low in nutritional value, the processed foods we turn to for a little comfort can increase the stress hormones in the body and make you even more depressed.
  • Fried foods: Stay away from fried chicken or French fries when you are sad. Cooked in hydrogenated oil, fried foods contain trans fats that have been found to increase depression potentially. Also, try these 6 mudras to beat depression.

Foods to eat

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  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Various studies have found that having a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids can help in fighting against the symptoms of both, depression and anxiety [1]. Foods such as flaxseeds, salmon, Brussels sprouts, eggs, chia seeds and soybean are the best natural sources of omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Chamomile tea: Instead of drinking coffee throughout the day, do yourself a favour and switch to chamomile tea. Studies have found that chamomile tea is an effective natural remedy for depression and anxiety [2].
  • Almonds and walnuts: These nuts are excellent sources of vitamin E, zinc, magnesium and B12 which helps in protecting the immune system while you're suffering from stress and anxiety [3]. Having three to four almonds and walnuts every day will assist in reducing your stress levels.
  • Pumpkin seeds: Studies have found that pumpkin seeds act as a natural remedy to reduce the symptoms of depression[4]. This is because they are a rich source of an amino acid known as L-tryptophan which can help in altering serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that maintains a mood balance. You ought to know these 8 modern day signs of depression.


[1] Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci. 2015 Aug 31;Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Prevention of Mood and Anxiety Disorders. Su KP, Matsuoka Y, Pae CU.

[2] Srivastava JK, Shankar E, Gupta S. Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future. Molecular medicine reports. 2010

[3]. Ros E. Health Benefits of Nut Consumption. Nutrients. 2010; doi:10.3390/nu2070652.

[4] Russo AJ. Decreased Zinc and Increased Copper in Individuals with Anxiety.Nutrition and Metabolic Insights. 2011;4:1-5.

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