Food You Eat and Depression. Is There a Connection?

Today, depression affects many people and changes their lives in a very negative way. Scientists assume that one factor that may contribute to this mental disorder is dietary habits. The food we eat determines the quality and the amount of nutrients we consume, and they have a big impact on our psychological health.

According to the study conducted in 2017, the symptoms of moderate-to-severe depression can improve if one has a healthy diet which must be focused on fresh and whole foods that are high in nutrients for at least 12 weeks. Also, it shouldn’t include processed refined foods, sweets, fried food as well as junk food. Such kind of nourishment helped more than 32% of the research participants achieve remission criteria. So the researchers supposed that people can manage or improve the symptoms of depression by addressing their diet. Although there is no specific diet to treat depression, consuming more of some foods and less of others can improve one’s emotional state. 

Taking into account that the number of patients suffering from depression keeps growing, educational institutions have started to raise people’s awareness about this problem. Today, many schools and universities share information on depression and encourage group discussions among students. This is an acute problem that needs effective solutions, so individuals are offered to join debates about the ways to beat depression. Some teachers even ask students to conduct small research or write an essay about depression to make sure that they gain useful knowledge. If you want to check free essay writing samples about depression, go to and get insights on different aspects of this mental disease. For instance, you can read at Eduzaurus about differentiating stress and real depression, causes and effects of depression, as well as interventions to treat this disorder. But if you want to learn more about what foods may be beneficial for depression relief and what people should avoid, keep reading the article.

What food to avoid 

  • Refined sugar. It provides us a pleasant rush of energy for about 20 minutes but then makes our blood glucose levels plummet. This results in a sugar hangover that disrupts our mood, depletes energy, and even can cause sleep disorders.
  • Artificial sweeteners. If you are prone to depression, you should avoid aspartame as it blocks the production of serotonin and causes mood dips, headaches, as well as insomnia.
  • Processed food. Processed carbohydrates such as white bread, cereal, pasta, or snack foods cause the insulin boost, which then makes you fatigued, irritated, and blue.
  • Hydrogenated oils. Fried food that contains trans fats may potentially contribute to depression.
  • Foods high in sodium. The excess sodium can disrupt neurological systems, contribute to depression, and muck up the immune system response, causing fatigue. 
  • Alcohol. It is well-known as a central nervous system depressant that slows down thinking, understanding, reasoning, and exacerbates symptoms associated with depression.
  • Caffeine. Some scientists argue that even a modest amount of caffeine can contribute to depression and disrupt sleep. Caffeine can cause agitation, tremors, and nervousness.

What nutrients to consume

  • Selenium. Scientists assume that selenium intake may help improve mood and reduce anxiety, so depression can get more manageable. Selenium is present in different foods, including whole grains, organ meats, some seafood, and Brazil nuts.
  • Vitamin D. According to a 2019 meta-analysis, vitamin D containing in oily fish, eggs, beef liver, and fortified dairy products can also improve the symptoms of depression
  • Omega-3 fatty acids. Some studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may also be helpful for people with depressive disorders. It is assumed that eating omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of mood disorders and brain diseases by preserving the myelin sheath that protects nerve cells and enhancing brain functions. Flaxseed oil, chia seeds, cold-water fish, and walnuts are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids. 
  • Antioxidants. They are contained in vitamins A, C, and E and help remove free radicals which prevents the body from oxidative stress that can lead to anxiety and depression. The good sources of antioxidants are fresh, plant-based foods, such as berries, fruits and vegetables, and soy.
  • B vitamins. Vitamins B-12 and B-9 contained in eggs, meat, fish, oyster, milk, dark leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, and whole grains may also help reduce the risk and symptoms of mood disorders.