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Depression Health Center

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Depression and Diet

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7. Select Selenium-Rich Foods

Selenium is a mineral that is essential to good health. Studies have reported an association between low selenium intake and poorer moods, although evidence isn't conclusive on whether supplementation can help.

It is possible to take in too much selenium so that it becomes toxic. But this is unlikely if you're getting it from foods rather than supplements, and it can't hurt to make sure you're eating foods that help you meet the recommended intake for selenium, which is 55 micrograms a day for adults. The good news is that foods rich in selenium are foods we should be eating anyway. They include:

  • Beans and legumes
  • Lean meat (lean pork and beef, skinless chicken and turkey)
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Nuts and seeds (particularly brazil nuts)
  • Seafood (oysters, clams, sardines, crab, saltwater fish, and freshwater fish)
  • Whole grains (whole-grain pasta, brown rice, oatmeal, etc.)

8. Include Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Your Diet

We know that omega-3 fatty acids have innumerable health benefits. Recently, scientists have revealed that a deficit of omega-3 fatty acids is associated with depression. In one study, researchers determined that societies that don't eat enough omega-3 fatty acids may have higher rates of major depressive disorder than societies that get ample omega-3 fatty acids. Other studies show that people who infrequently eat fish, which is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, are more likely to suffer from depression.

  • Sources of omega-3 fatty acids: fatty fish (anchovy, mackerel, salmon, sardines, shad, and tuna), flaxseed, and nuts.
  • Sources alpha-linolenic acid (another type of omega-3 fatty acid): flaxseed, canola oil, soybean oil, walnuts, and dark green leafy vegetables.

9. Watch Your Lifestyle Habits

Many people who are depressed also have problems with alcohol and/or drugs. Not only can alcohol and drugs interfere with mood, sleep, and motivation, they can also reduce the effectiveness of your depression medications. In addition, drinks and foods containing caffeine can trigger anxiety and make it difficult to sleep at night. Cutting out caffeine or stopping caffeine after noon each day can also help you get a better night's sleep.

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