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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What foods should I eat and avoid to help with depression?

    I was diagnoised with depression about 4 years ago. I have been on Lexapro for about 3 years and it has helped immensley. Sometimes, like at the moment, certain events in life get me so down I feel like the mediation isn't working at all. I know I need to think positively, exercise, spend time with loved ones and reduce my stress where possible, but is there any foods I should try and eat less or and more of that may also help me with my depression?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Kirsty Woods

    Exercise Physiologist

    Hi I’m Kirsty Woods,I would like to use my experience, expertise and passion to help you reach your weight, energy and health goalsI have been … View Profile

    There are various foods which have been linked to depression and mood, in particular sugars and refined carbohydrates.
     
    Eating lots of sugar igives you sudden peaks and troughs in the amount of glucose in your blood; symptoms may include  fatigue, irritability, poor concentration depression and crying spells and digestive disturbances.
     
    For more information this article is a good resource http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/07/13/why-sugar-is-dangerous-to-depression/

  • Elizabeth Newsham-West is committed to optimising the health and well-being of people across all ages within the Mount Tamborine community.  She works as a domicillary … View Profile

    Research show that eating a healthy diet which involves choosing fresh fruit and lots of vegetables, wholegrain cereals as part of bread and breakfast cereals, low fat and lean protein foods and alternatives, vegetable fats especially those high in omega 3 fatty acids regularly  through the day are the best ways nutrition can help depression.  Research has been done on individual nutrients and there are some associations with low levels of omega 3 fatty acids, found in fish and some vegetable oils and nuts, and low folate levels which are found in green leafy vegetables. These nutrients can be easily met through a healthy diet.

    Very often people suffering mental illness fail to eat regularly, choose highly processed food specifically carbohydrate foods and sweetened drinks (soft drinks) often through cravings maybe associated with medication taken, and can drink high amounts of alcohol. These food choices do not help feeling of well being often cause obesity, lethargy and poor nutrition and this then  plays into the cycle of poor mental health.

    It is important to seek help and support from a Dietitian as poor nutrition can contribute to other chronic disease which can be associated with mental health and managing and preventing these is important to improve long term mental health.

  • 1

    Agree

    Leah is a Clinical Dietitian with a passion for understanding how the body works. Special interests include: gut and systemic change food and mood mind-body … View Profile

    Hello there, 
    Depression is a condition which can creep up on us and take us be surprise if we are not thinking about it.  I agree with Elizabeth's comments on a healthy eating regime and how easy it can be to choose unhelpful foods and drinks when we aren't feeling the best about ourselves or the situation. 

    I will add though, is that even with a healthy eating plan… fruit, vegies, grains etc, for some it can still cause a reaction.  For some people, food chemicals, yes even the ones naturally found in whole foods can also trigger a chemical change in the nervous system and upset the psyche.  

    Another trigger for some is the health of their gut.  There is a large body of evidence being created showing the link between gut health, mental state and the immune system, a triangle if you will.  They work together, and if one is out of balance, then a change in chemistry can topple the balance quite easily.  If one is prone to chemical sensitivities, reactions for foods, or gut issues, then this is definately worth investigating.  

    Some people respond to avoiding some foods, drinks and chemicals, some need gut support and others can benifet from larger doses of nutrients such as B group; fatty acids; proteins.  

    Just as with any other serious condition, it is important to be supported by people who understand the condition, and at times consult a team of professionals to address the various areas of complex health issues such as depression, and anxiety.  

    To your health, and equilibrium. Leah

  • 1

    Agree

    Melissa Adamski

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    I am an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) and Accredited Nutritionist (AN) with a passion for food and good nutrition. I also have my own private … View Profile

    Great answers from the healthcare professionals above. It is important to ensure you have adequate intakes of:

    *omega 3- fatty fish and plant sources
    *vitamin D- sunshine, small amounts in eggs and some fish
    *folate- green leafy vegetables, some nuts, legumes and some fortified cereals

    These nutrients have been associated with poor mental health and so ensuring you are having a diet plentiful in these will help optimise health.

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