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4. Eat Protein-Rich Foods to Boost Alertness

Foods rich in protein, like turkey, tuna, or chicken, are rich in an amino acid called tryptophan, which may help increase production of the brain chemical serotonin which is thought to play a role in mood regulation. Try to include a protein source in your diet several times a day, especially when you need to clear your mind and boost your energy.

  • Good sources of healthy proteins: beans and peas, lean beef, low-fat cheese, fish, milk, poultry, soy products, yogurt

5. Eat a Mediterranean-Type Diet

The Mediterranean diet is a balanced, healthy eating pattern that includes plenty of fruits, nuts, vegetables, cereals, legumes, and fish.

A Spanish study, using data from 4,211 men and 5,459 women, found that rates of depression tended to increase in men -- especially smokers -- as folate intake decreased. The same increase occurred for women -- especially those who smoked or were not physically active -- but with a decreased intake of another B-vitamin: B12. This wasn't the first study to discover an association between these two vitamins and depression. Researchers wonder whether poor nutrient intake leads to depression or whether depression leads people to eat a poor diet.

Folate is found in Mediterranean diet staples like legumes, nuts, many fruits, and dark green vegetables. B12 can be found in all lean and low-fat animal products, such as fish and low-fat dairy products.

6. Get Enough Vitamin D

A 2010 national study found that the likelihood of having depression is higher in people with deficiency in vitamin D compared to people who are sufficient in vitamin D. In another study, researchers from the University of Toronto noticed that people who were suffering from depression, particularly those with seasonal affective disorder, tended to improve as their levels of vitamin D in the body increased over the normal course of a year. Vitamin D receptors are found in the brain. Researchers, though, are unsure how much vitamin D is ideal, although too much Vitamin D can cause problems with calcium levels and kidney functioning.

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