It’s no surprise we call the Standard American Diet, SAD.   The Public Health Nutrition journal published a study that revealed that consumers of fast food are 51% more likely to develop depression, compared to those who eat little or none.  Processed foods high in hydrogenated oils, trans fats and high fructose can literally make us sad, so what can we eat to boost our moods?
Top 5 food groups to fight depression:

  1. Seafood!
  2. Nuts & Seeds
  3. Green Leafy Vegetables
  4. Citrus Fruits
  5. Beans
So what makes these foods nature’s antidepressants?


Several studies in the last 10 years have shown that foods and supplements with omega-3 fatty acids improved depression symptoms in patients diagnosed with depression.  Dr. Tanya Edwards, blogged for Doctor Oz that she recommends her patients with depression get 2000-4000mg/d of Omega 3’s.  Supplements are great but there are many foods rich with Omega 3’s.

  • Low mercury fish – salmon, sardines, halibut, trout, anchovies, mackerel
  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseeds & flax oil
  • Grass-fed beef
  • Shell fish – shrimp, scallops
  • Fortified eggs

MAGNESIUM Magnesium is one of 4 major ions critical for the body.  (The others are calcium, potassium & sodium)  Its critical in over 300 bodily functions, most of those provide us with necessary energy.  But more than 80% of the worlds population is low in magnesium.  Magnesium deficiency can cause muscle aches, anxiety, fatigue, confusion, irritability, forgetfulness and depression.  So besides supplements what can you eat to get your daily dose of magnesium?

  • Swiss chard & spinach
  • Bran – rice, wheat & oats
  • Dried herbs – coriander, basil, spearmint, sage
  • Seeds – pumpkin, squash, sunflower, flax, sesame
  • Beans – kidney beans, black beans, lentils
  • Edamame
  • Bananas


A study from the Dept of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Ontario found a direct link between depression and vitamin D deficiency, especially in women.  Some of us don’t have the luxury of getting vitamin from sunshine on a regular basis, so here are some other great sources of vitamin D.

  • Cod liver oil
  • Oily fish – Salmon, herring, sardines, tuna, mackerel, catfish
  • Oysters
  • Eggs
  • Mushrooms
  • Fortified cereals
  • Enriched soy milk

FOLATE & VITAMIN B12 Low levels of folic acid or folate and vitamin B12 is linked to a higher risk of melancholic depressive symptoms.  Research has shown that deficiencies in folate and B12 are common among depressed people. Both help produce serotonin, a chemical in the brain that affects our happiness.  It’s actually difficult for most people to get enough through diet alone so women especially in child bearing years should take a supplement in addition to enjoying foods high in folate and vitamin B12.

  • Dark leafy greens – spinach, chard, turnip greens, mustard greens, kale
  • Peanuts
  • Asparagus
  • Beans – lentils, garbanzo, pinto, mung, black beans
  • Liver
  • Broccoli
  • Citrus fruit – oranges, grapefruit, papaya, raspberries, strawberries
  • Avocado


Niacin treatments have long been helpful in the battle with depression. Niacin is important for the nervous system and brain function, but can’t be stored in the body, so it’s important to get enough niacin every day..  Deficiencies can cause anxiety, depression, mood swings, restlessness and insomnia.

  • Pork, lamb, beef, chicken & turkey
  • Anchovies, tuna, mackerel, swordfish
  • Liver & kidney
  • Mushrooms
  • Paprika
  • Peanuts
Depression is a serious disease. If you or you know someone who suffer from depression, please see a physician.  If you are currently taking antidepressants, please do not stop taking your medications unless under the supervision of a doctor.

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