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Add These Foods, Drinks & Nutrients To Your Diet To Fight Depression & Anxiety

How diet can help prevent & manage depression & anxiety.

Whether you’ve personally dealt with these neuropsychiatric disorders or have witnessed a family member, friend, or peer fight their own mental health battles, everyone is impacted by depression and anxiety in some shape or form.

Whole foods and nutrients like fish, coffee, tea, berries, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants (e.g., lycopene, resveratrol, selenium), and even dietary fiber have been found to play a critical role in the prevention and management of depression and anxiety.

These nutrients and foods help promote mental well-being by:

Inhibiting inflammationFighting free radicals to reduce oxidative stressModulating gut microbiotaPreventing hyperactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis–i.e., the neuroendocrine mechanism that controls the body’s reaction to stressSupporting healthy levels of monoamine neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine), which play a key role in mood regulation
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Foods, drinks, and nutrients for depression.

Pathologically, depression is often associated with inflammation in the brain, monoamine neurotransmitter deficiency, gut microbiota disorder, and HPA axis hyperactivity.

Consumption of the following foods, drinks, and dietary nutrients have been found to lower the risk of depression and depressive symptoms in clinical trials:

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In animal studies, many common nutrients and supplement ingredients–including fish oil and omega-3s, navel orange and garlic essential oils, antioxidants (e.g., curcumin, lycopene, resveratrol, maqui berry, and EGCG), and various probiotic strains–have also been found to protect against and treat depressive mechanisms.

Foods, drinks, and nutrients for anxiety.

According to the narrative review, anxiety is initiated and developed by oxidative stress, inflammation, and serotonergic and noradrenergic dysfunction (i.e., imbalances in serotonin and noradrenaline, aka norepinephrine)–but certain foods and nutrients can help.

Consumption of the following foods, drinks, and dietary nutrients have been found to lower the risk of and protect against anxiety in clinical trials:

Legumes and nutsDietary fiberOmega-3 fatty acidsBCAAsVitamin B6
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In animal studies, a variety of foods, nutrients, and common supplement ingredients–such as honey, goat milk fat, breadfruit pulp, red pomegranate fruit extract, bergamot essential oil, omega-3s, phytonutrients (e.g., saffron, curcumin, and L-theanine), and various probiotic strains have also been found to reduce the prevalence and treat the effects of anxiety.

The takeaway.

There are a number of neuroprotective foods, drinks, and nutrients you can add to your diet to help prevent and/or manage depression and anxiety. For an even easier solution, consider adding a quality supplement with one (or many!) of the ingredients listed above to your daily routine.

Here are some of mindbodygreen’s supplement roundups to get you started (plus, which ingredients to look for):

The best metabolism supplements for green tea extract (with caffeine and EGCG) and resveratrolThe best omega-3 supplements for marine-derived omega-3s EPA and DHAThe best multivitamins for selenium, vitamin B6, lycopene, and resveratrolThe best focus & concentration supplements for caffeine, L-theanine, vitamin B6, resveratrol, omega-3s, and probioticsThe best fiber supplements for a healthy dose of dietary fiber
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