Healthy Dining Finder - What Foods Are Good for Depression?
 
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Registered Dietitians Answer Your Questions about Restaurant Nutrition

What Foods Are Good for Depression?


Some people are surprised to learn that diet can have such impact on mental health, but certain nutrients have important roles in regulating brain cell membranes and as precursors to neurotransmitters and hormones. Deficiencies in several vitamins and other nutrients have been associated with depression and other mental health issues.
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Nutrition and Depression

Q. What nutrients can help stimulate appetite and get rid of depression?

Some people are surprised to learn that diet can have such impact on mental health, but certain nutrients have important roles in regulating brain cell membranes and as precursors to neurotransmitters and hormones. Deficiencies in several vitamins and other nutrients have been associated with depression and other mental health issues.

While we can provide some general recommendations based on the latest research, the best way to identify desired changes to your diet is to seek a full assessment from your primary care doctor and a registered dietitian. Your treatment team will be able to consider your medical background and other variables to address your unique needs.

Omega 3 fatty acids, primarily DHA, are found in high concentrations in the brain and are critical to nervous system function. Insufficient intake of omega 3 fats is common in the American diet, and studies have found that people suffering from depression tend to have lower levels of these essential fats. Other nutrients essential to brain chemistry are the B vitamins, including folic acid and vitamin B12; low levels of both of these have been associated with higher risk of depression. Supplements may be a convenient way to increase your intake of these nutrients, but remember that they are not a substitute for a varied, balanced diet. Fatty fish, whole grains and seeds are some of the best foods for supplying these nutrients.

Finally, while not specific to food, researchers have also found exercise to be effective in reducing symptoms of depression. And especially for those who suffer from lack of appetite, exercise can help stimulate hunger, making it easier to consume those essential nutrient-rich foods!

Enjoying a healthy diet for good nutrition and reduced risk of depression is a great choice!  At Healthy Dining, our registered dietitians make it easy to make the healthiest choices when eating out.
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