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Chicago Home and Lifestyles – Healthy diet to beat depression

Clinical depression is a medical condition which should be monitored and treated with a trusted doctor. However, scientists have found that the nutrients found in the following foods may help manage clinical or circumstantial depression for some. If you have no other restrictions, it may be worth a shot!

Vitamin D. Low levels of Vitamin D can cause depression. Cow’s milk and other goods like enriched cereals, juices and canned fish are great sources of Vitamin D . If these foods are not an option you can also try supplements. One study found people who took supplements were less depressed after one year. Ask a doctor to check your Vitamin D levels and recommend supplements.

Tryptophan. Turkey meat contains tryptophan, which your body uses to make serotonin. This is key to fighting depression. Many anti-depressant drugs target serotonin use in the brain. You can also find this mood elevator in chicken and soybeans.

Selenium. Brazil nuts are rich in selenium which protects you from free radicals. People without enough of this nutrient tend to be more depressed. Other foods rich in selenium are brown rice, sunflower seeds, seafood, and lean beef.

Beta-carotene. Carrots and other foods like pumpkin, spinach, cantaloupe, and sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene that has been linked to lower depression. While it is not certain it can prevent depression it sure can’t hurt to add it to your diet!

Vitamin B-12. Lean beef, milk and eggs along with clams and mussels are good sources of vitamin B-12. A lack of B-12 causes a shortage of adenosylmethionine, which your brain needs to process other chemicals that affect your mood. Elderly people are especially prone to low B-12 levels.

Folate. Leafy greens are packed with folate which your brain cells need to work well and may protect against depression. Food manufacturers add this to enriched pastas and rice. Beans like limas and asparagus are also good sources.

Omega-3s. Omega-3 fatty acids help brain chemicals that can affect your mood. Fatty fish like salmon and canned tuna are great sources of this valuable nutrient.

These are all healthy foods that will benefit your brain as much as your body! But there are also foods to avoid or keep in strict moderation. Alcohol for example can make depression symptoms worse because it makes your brain less active. It can also make your anti-depressant medication less effective.

Highly processed foods have also been linked to depression. Diets high in sugar, carbs, and fat do little to elevate your mood in a consistent way. Instead, a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean protein is better suited to managing depression.

 Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago