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Diet for depression: The Principles of nutrition in the prevention and course of depression

Diet for depression: The Principles of nutrition in the prevention and course of depressionDiet for depression: The Principles of nutrition in the prevention and course of depression

proper diets depressed It is not without significance, because there is a relationship between diet low in valuable components and the development of the disease. The Therefore, the diet for depression, mood enhancer and low-apathy, it should be rich in omega-3 fatty acid, folic acid, vitamin B12, zinc, selenium, and iron.

Depression Diet should CONTAIN as little sweetness: improve our mood, but briefly, and later a decline in mood.

diet depressed It is Considered by many to be unimportant, although no one today does not deny That many physical diseases and disorders are associated with diet and deficiency or excess of Particular food ingredients. Of course, diet is not the only cause of depression or the only factor able That is a cure her, but it diagnose nutritional deficiencies and diet is appropriate Return support the nervous system can be of great help and support psychotherapy and pharmacology. Depression manifested mood disorders, negative thoughts, feelings of sadness, anxiety, fear, sleep disorders, loss of appetite and reduced interest in activities of pleasure for product effect so far, as well as a decrease in concentration and cognitive ability. Associated with depression is too low neurotransmitter levels in the body - serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and GABA. Currently, the world is suffering from depression 5-11 percent of adults, and over the years the incidence of this disorder Increases. According to the World Health Organization, depression is the fourth most serious health problems in the world. The treatment includes various types of medications and psychotherapy, Which often do not produce the desired result. Hence the growing interest in alternative treatments for depression, Including dietoterapią. More and more often in scientific publications emphasize the role of diet in depression - poor in vitamins and minerals, and omega-3 fatty acid, and abounding in sugar and trans fats. For several decades, it is known That the intake of food Affects mood, and That we are in the mood, Affects the food choices.

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1. Carbohydrates

In 1971, the first time it has been found That Increased carbohydrate intake Improves mood - Affects the balance of amino acids in the blood serum and THUS Increases the concentration of serotonin in the brain.

It should reach for a healthy source of carbohydrates - whole grain cereals, vegetables and fruits, not sweets shop full of refined sugar.

High level serotonin is Responsible for regulating sleep, appetite and well-being. People who suffer from the destruction of mood, have a strong craving for carbohydrates, That Which shows the brain requires them as a drug. Ejection of insulin after ingestion of sugars with consequent transfer to the brain more tryptophan Which there is used for the production of neurotransmitters. A diet too low in carbohydrates Promotes deterioration of mood and depression.

2. Amino acids

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Many neurotransmitters are built of amino acids, eg. Serotonin from tryptophan. dopamine from tyrosine. It is also important methionine - an essential component of the S-adenosylmethionine Involved in the production of neurotransmitters in the brain. It has been shown That fasting supplemented with tryptophan is converted into serotonin, but there is no conclusive research results That would confirm the need for supplementation of tryptophan and other amino acids in depression. Their Increased consumption, together with the diet seems advisable because it can lead is an Increase in the concentration of neurotransmitters in the brain.

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Omega 3 fatty acids-3

The brain is one of the organs with the highest fat content. The gray matter of the brain Consists of approx. 50 percent of the fat, 33 percent of Which were omega-3 fatty acid. Researchers associated fall in consumption of omega-3 fatty acids in the modern diet with a higher incidence of depression. The exact mechanism of action of the fatty acids EPA and DHA is not specified, but the clinical and epidemiological studies have clearly shown omega-3 That Can Effectively Treat depression. EPA supplementation 1.5-2 g per day results in a better mood, but Increasing the dose over 3 g of acid does not Provide additional benefit. Popular in the prevention of Mental Disorders and Their treatment on the consumption of omega-3 and omega-6 in the ratio of 1: 1. Meanwhile, in the Western diet, the ratio is even 1:20.

Also read: omega-3, -6, -9: operation and source of food

Supplementation with 0.5-0.8 mg of folic acid per day reduces symptoms associated with depression.

4. Folic Acid

On the basis of studies it was found That patients suffering from depression are Characterized by low levels of folic acid in the plasma and red blood cells, and its deficiencies manifested depressive symptoms. Folic acid deficiency translates into a very small amount of neurotransmitters in the brain. Increasing the concentration of homocysteine ​​(amino acid affecting negatively the organism, Including through damage to blood vessels and atherogenic effect) and reduce the effectiveness of drugs used in the treatment of depression.

5. Vitamin B12

Reduced levels of vitamin B12 in the blood is Observed in people with treatment-resistant depression, and the inclusion of cobalamin supplementation is often effective in Increasing the sensitivity of the patient on antidepressants. The role of vitamin B12 deficiency in Causing depression is not clearly defined, but May be related to the Increase in homocysteine ​​levels, cobalamin because it is Necessary for the conversion is a methionine and S-adenosylmethionine - compounds important in the production of neurotransmitters.

6. Iron

Iron is Involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters, and the myelin sheath of nerve cells, and in children with impaired concentration and hyperactive iron deficiency states. With anemia can be linked are changes in behavior, depressed mood and apathy, but the role of iron in the depression is not exactly clear. However, you can notice that both anemia and depression Affect women more often than men, and among them is often iron deficient.

Read also: Diet anemia, or how to eat with anemia

7. Selenium

Diet for depression: The Principles of nutrition in the prevention and course of depressionOn the basis of a large study Dr. Davida Bentona of the University of Wales proved that too little selenium delivered to the body is associated with depressed mood. On another group of patients has been shown selenium That is Responsible for Improving Reducing anxiety and mood.

8. Zinc

Several studies have shown a link between depression and low levels of zinc in the body. It was also found with zinc supplementation That Increases the effectiveness of antidepressants. The role of this element in depressive disorders is not fully understood, but it is known That zinc is important for the Functioning of the central nervous system and the immune system. In experiments in animals have shown the relationship between zinc deficiency and reduced activity in indecision in operation, impairment of memory and concentration.

Good to know

Depression Diet: Products contraindicated

The diets used for problems with depression should be the most natural, based on a "real food," the least processed products. The basis of diet should be vegetables, fruits, fish, nuts and cereal. We take care of visual appeal and taste of meals as delicious and nicely presented food Improves mood. People suffering from depression should avoid foods worsen That malaise.

Belong to them:

  • alcohol - a glass of wine from time to time is not a bad thing, but frequent use of alcohol and its abuse are associated with the induction of feelings of anxiety and panic attacks. In people who consume alcohol excessively Observed decrease in the level of serotonin, Which Promotes depression;

  • caffeine - caffeine in coffee, tea, and special energy drinks consumed in excess lowers the level of serotonin and induces a feeling of anxiety, decreases mood and sleep disorders;

  • calorie foods of low nutritional value - with a good influence on mood and well-being especially sweets are associated with a very high content of sugar and fat low quality. You have to realize That the improvement of mood after eating sweets is temporary and related to the rapid delivery of portions of energy. After a short time the mood back to normal, or even worse. Shop sweets consumed in excess are the cause of obesity, diabetes and other health problems. The Therefore it is better to prepare yourself sweets with healthy products.

Read also: Recipes for healthy snacks

Depression Diet: recommended products

The menu Prevents depression and its treatment support should abound in foods That Provide the most important nutrients in the etiology of the disease. Where to find them?

  • Tryptophan - pumpkin seeds, soybeans, white and yellow cheese, veal, chicken breast, tuna; The most effective in Increasing the levels of serotonin is tryptophan supplementation in the form of pharmaceutical preparations.

  • Tyrosine - fish, milk, cheese, eggs, meat, pumpkin seeds, dry seeds of leguminous plants.

  • Methionine - cereals, dry pulses, Brazil nuts, sesame, fish, meat.

  • Omega-3 - fatty sea fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, sardine, halibut), linseed oil, linseed oil, rapeseed oil, walnuts.

  • Folic acid - spinach, broccoli, avocados, oranges, asparagus, beans, brussels sprouts, peas, soybeans, bananas, cereal, eggs.

  • Vitamin B12 - meat, fish, milk, eggs, cheese.

  • Iron - white and red meat, dry legumes, dark green vegetables, parsley, nuts, whole grains.

  • Selenium - Brazil nuts, tuna, sunflower seeds, organ meats, fish and seafood, cocoa.

  • Zinc - seafood, fish, sesame seeds, almonds, garlic, whole grains, dried legumes.


  1. Sathyanarayana Rao T.S. et al., Understanding nutrition, depression and mental illness, Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 2008, 50 (2), 77-82, doi: 10.4103 / 0019-5545.42391

  2. Majkutewicz P. et al., Nutritional depression Family Medicine and Primary Care Review, 2014, 16 (1): 48-50

  3. Wilczyńska A. fatty acids in the treatment and prevention of depression, Poland Psychiatry 2013, 47 (4), 657-666

  4. dr. Dr. Sa'eed Bawa and Eng. Danuta Gajewska Is diet can improve your mood? Lecture delivered in the framework of the "University of Life Sciences in Nutrition Wszechnica" dn.21 in February 2007, Http://


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