First eliminate foods and long-term stress that can reduce your serotonin levels which lead to depression. Stimulants like caffeine, sugar and refined carbohydrates (sweets, white bread and rice) should be avoided if not eliminated.
Can foods help you fight depression? Yes they can and here's why. Certain foods help to produce serotonin, which is what prescription drugs do in essence, but prescription medications aren't utilized by the human body the same as natural food sources and that is one reason there are so many side effects associated with them.
The three top foods that help fight depression are;
1. Fish, especially salmon, contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Studies show that people who are prone to depression have lower levels of this important nutrient which also helps increase serotonin. Taking supplements can also lower cholesterol and help your cardiovascular health. Other foods that contain high amounts of the fatty acid EPA are walnuts, flax and chia seeds.
2. Brown Rice contains high amounts of the B complex vitamins, especially B-1, B-3 and folic acid. Research has shown that if people have low levels of the B vitamins and higher levels of homocysteine they become depressed more often. Folic acid, vitamin B2, B6, and B12 have all been shown to decrease levels of homocysteine. Brown rice is a low glycemic food so it prevents mood swings associated with sugar spikes.
3. Meat contains high amounts of the amino acid tryptophan needed by the brain to make serotonin. The meat doesn't have to be red meat you can also get tryptophan from fish, legumes, turkey, soy, almonds and eggs.
Don't limit yourself to just the top three best foods for depression, you can also improve your health and ease your depression with the following:
1. Low levels of vitamin D3 have been shown to be associated with mental disorders and depression. A simple test can reveal whether you need supplementation. It turns out a large percentage of us are deficient, especially if we don't get enough sunshine. Foods high in Vitamin D3 are salmon, mackerel, sardines, egg yolks, beef liver, milk that has been fortified and cod liver oil. Most doctors recommend 2000 to 5000iu daily.
2. B vitamins are also found in chicken, corn, eggs, green leafy and cruciferous vegetables, legumes, meat, nuts, peas, sunflower seeds, and nutritional yeast (great sprinkled on popcorn). If you take supplements make sure it is a B-complex which contains all the B vitamins.
3. Whole grains like quinoa, kamut and oats help fight against blood sugar lows unlike white flour and help lower cholesterol.
4. Exercise or physical activity can prevent and treat depression. Did you know that exercise has been shown to be as successful as taking Prozac for depression?
Try food sources first for depression rather than strong prescription drugs. If you feel you may need more assistance there are some herbal remedies available that have proven to help with depression. Ashwagandha an Indian herbal remedy helps with anxiety and mood. Rhodiola or arctic root is another herb that aids focus, mood and concentration.
Depression can become severe with thoughts of suicide, in which case, it is best to find a health practitioner who can give you all your available options, including natural treatments like herbal remedies, stress management, medications if needed and therapy.