salmonThe research is in. What you put in your mouth can provide a nice boost to your mood, or make you not to fun to be around. Researchers think brain foods such as those containing omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, and important amino acids like tryptophan cause changes to some fats in brain membranes, helping certain chemicals to pass through. That’s what happened in the laboratory rats in a study at McLean Hospital, explains Chris Illiades, M.D., in a recent Everyday Health article.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Eating fatty fish like salmon, tuna, or trout, or walnuts might delay a meltdown by a day or two because they are rich in mood boosters, a.k.a omega-3 fatty acids, which affect brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. Oily fish like salmon are also full of vitamin B12, which can help the production of serotonin. According to a recent article by Chris Iliades, M.D., “Japanese researchers found that a diet high in fish protects people from depression and suicide, while in Finland a team of researchers surveyed 1,767 residents and concluded that eating fish more than twice a week has a protective effect against suicide and depression.”

In addition to Omega 3 fatty acids, Dr. Illiades mentions a few other vitamins and nutrients that play an important role in boosting our mood:

B vitamins. Studies suggest that if you have low levels of the B vitamin folic acid and high levels of a protein called homocysteine, you are more likely to be depressed. Folic acid, vitamin B2, B6, and B12 have all been shown to decrease levels of homocysteine. You can ensure you get enough B vitamins by eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and legumes.

Amino acids. Tryptophan is an important amino acid your body needs to make the brain chemical serotonin. Low levels of serotonin are believed to be a cause of depression. Several studies have shown that a diet high in tryptophan can improve depression. Tryptophan is found in foods high in protein, such as meat, fish, beans, and eggs.

Carbohydrates. All the carbohydrates you eat are broken down into sugar that your brain needs to function properly. However, eating too much sugar can cause peaks and valleys in your blood glucose levels that can cause or aggravate symptoms of depression. The best way to avoid these symptoms is to eat a diet low in refined carbohydrates and sugar and high in fruits and vegetables.

Published originally on Sanity Break at Everyday Health.

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Therese Borchard
I am a writer and chaplain trying to live a simple life in Annapolis, Maryland.

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4 Responses
  1. Redrover

    Depression is an illness that some people can be born with due to lack of all the chemicals needed to fight it and some folks come to depression because of things in their lives that bring them down. However one comes to have this dark evil illness, it is something to take care of and understand yourself. Get help and do not be sheepish about doing that…it is the only way you will get well!! There is help and there IS a way to fight it only you cannot do it along and without meds that can balance the chemical imbalance or the current situation that is causing the episodes of depression. I really used to be mad at those who would say ‘boy snap out of it and stop being so gloomy’ etc….Well that is one of the worst things one can say! It is not something one snaps out of. It is like telling a man without one leg to grow another one! It is harmful and deprives the person of any true caring or supportive feeling. If one has depression, it is a family affair, that all need to be educated about so they can be helpful instead of harmful!! If anyone can tell others about depression, it is myself. I have had every type of meds at one time or another for treatment of depression and it took a long-long time for me because I did not know who to see, what to do or how to get the help I needed, but once I did, it re-opened the door that was closed in my life. No, it did not take all my troubles away or answer all life’s situations, but it DID give me the tools to know then how to regain my center, my self worth and my faith!!! I am normal…whatever that means… today and my meds and I will be together for the duration of my life. That is fine with me! I am not out of my mind, I am now mentally ill, I am not untrustworthy, I am not someone who cannot be trusted…..Do not let anyone make you feel you are a second class citizen or mentally off because you have depression. It is an illness like any other illness that has to be treated!! There IS light on the other side of depression!!!!


    I believe with the Redrover that there IS light at the other side of depression!!! I have drunk this cup for almost twenty years and I have encountered all the ‘wrong reasons’ of suffering depression….I mean wrong because I had once gotten lost when I was sick for three days….and not forgetting I am a lady and there some men who thing like jungle animals….I was repeatedly raped. It was one of the worst episode of my sickness but I am grateful to GOD because HE helped me to get over it. Discrimination s also arise sometimes but I have purposed one thing and that is since I did not choose this to happen, I will ‘love my depression’ so that we may reach into an equilibrium on how we are going to ‘help each other to live positively’. That’s the only way to go to enable anyone who is suffering from depression not to take his/her life into his/her hands. My dear friends lets unite to fight this battle and through God’s help we will land ‘there’ safe and whole.