Depression-Fighting Foods

Monday, March 2, 2015

Depression is something that many people struggle with. In high school I had a terrible time with it. When I got to college, my depression was a little bit better, but my anxiety got dramatically worse.

In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with taking anti-depressants if you are clinically depressed, but we also have a responsibility to take care of our bodies and eat foods that can help us get better.

There are plenty of foods out there that help with depression and/or anxiety, but many people are unaware of which foods can help. If we educate ourselves about how different foods affect us, we may be able to help ourselves out.

Foods that Aid in Depression and Anxiety

Foods Rich in Antioxidants (beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E)
Antioxidants help fight off free-radicals, which often cause depression. 
These foods include, but are not limited to:
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Kiwi
  • Cantaloupe
  • Grapefruit

Complex Carbs
Contrary to popular belief, carbohydrates are not evil. Your body needs carbs to function properly. The problem is what type of carbs people tend to choose. Limit your cake, cookie and chip intake. Instead, go for whole grains, legumes, fruits and veggies. These all contain good (complex) carbs. Complex carbs raise the serotonin levels in your body, which produce a calming affect. Thank you, serotonin! Foods with high serotonin levels include: 
  • Brown Rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Granola
  • Whole-Grain Cereal
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Cashews (and almost any nut/seed)
  • Eggs
  • Yogurt

Foods high in Tyrosine
Tyrosine, like serotonin, is vital to the proper function of your brain and essential to maintaining it's chemical balance. Foods that are high in protein usually contain tyrosine. These include:
  • Most fish (i.e. tuna, salmon, halibut, mackerel)
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Seaweed
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Quail
  • Shrimp

As a general rule, baked or broiled seafood, most vegetables, dairy, berries, and most nuts are great for people with depression and anxiety. This does not mean that everything you consume in these categories will help you, but generally speaking, most of them should.

These lists are only the beginning! There are so many foods that can help with depression and anxiety. If this is something you struggle with, I highly recommend that you look at the sources I've included as well. They can give you additional insights into how certain foods can aid you in your struggles.

Do you have certain foods that tend to make your feel better? Do you have a go-to, healthy food that calms you? Comment below and let us know :)


  1. Thanks for sharing! Although I don't struggle with clinical depression, I've been down lately from the winter blues and stress! Great post :)

    Kim .. Snow day?!

    1. Thanks for stopping by!
      I think these foods would help you too, based on what I've read. I am not positive about that, but I think so! :)
      Hope you beat the winter blues!

  2. Wow, I never knew this. Very interesting and useful to learn! Great post and thank you for sharing. :)