Depression is something that involves your whole body, not just your mind. Physical health can be affected in several ways when you are depressed and can actually contribute to the problem. It's common for people suffering from depression to slip into some unhealthy patterns including poor sleeping habits, eating too much or not enough, avoiding exercise, and focusing on negative thoughts and behaviors.
Ironically, getting more exercise, eating nutritious foods, getting plenty of high quality sleep, and thinking about more positive things are among the treatments recommended to help relieve depression. But if you felt good enough to do all that, you would, right? Hmmm... maybe, maybe not. Often people wonder, am I depressed because I'm not taking care of myself or am I not taking care of myself because I'm depressed? It's a vicious cycle.
Don't worry, I am not about to say that simply eating better is the key to lifting the fog of depression, especially when we are unable to control all the circumstances that contribute to it in the first place. Often when we are in a negative environment it feels impossible to change anything that would make much difference. What I have learned is that the one thing I CAN control is what goes into my mouth every day. Unless a person is entirely dependent on others to shop and prepare meals, there are better options that help in the ways that food might be a factor.
When you're depressed the last thing you want is a complicated menu to prepare. Most of these foods are available already cut up or cooked at the health food market. Why not consider giving up that "comfort food" mocha latte' for a few days and invest in your emotional and physical health? You may be surprised at how good you'll feel.
Here's a partial list of foods that have nutrients to help combat the blues:
Raw fruits and veggies (for complex carbs to help alleviate anxiety)
Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, legumes (for energizing B vitamins and fiber to help move things along)
Turkey, salmon (for calming amino acids like tryptophan)
Salmon, white fish, ground flax seed, nuts (for essential fatty acids that protect the brain)
Foods to avoid:
Sugar in all forms (quick energy followed by a slump)
Alcohol (it is a depressant, don't be fooled by the temporary giddy feeling)
Hydrogenated fats (which interfere with blood flow, especially to the brain)
Caffeine (contributes to adrenal fatigue, sleeplessess, and anxiety)
Other non-food suggestions:
Keep a journal to find patterns and triggers of negative thinking
Get some sunshine every day
Move around - take a walk or plant something colorful in a garden or pot
Make a cup of herbal tea, mint and chamomile are relaxing