Nutrients That Prevent or Alleviate Depression
A variety of chemicals in the brain (for example, serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine) influence your mood. Some amino acids consumed through protein in foods are precursors for the brain chemicals, meaning that they are converted to the chemicals once digested or absorbed. Tryptophan and tyrosine are two such amino acids.
Research shows that individuals suffering from depression often have low levels of folate, and this vitamin can help medications for depression to work more effectively. Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to have antidepressant effects and can ease the symptoms of depression.
Carbohydrates, especially whole-grain sources, can improve mood. The spike in insulin that occurs after eating carbohydrates delivers sugar to the cells for energy production, which sends tryptophan to the brain. This influences those neurotransmitters that can improve mood.
Carbohydrates come from a variety of sources, but simple carbohydrates such as sugars and sweet snacks lead to a spike in insulin. This can be followed by a crash that depresses the mood. Stick with whole grains, beans, vegetables, and other complex carbohydrates. They take longer to digest, resulting in longer-lasting energy and less of a crash in mood.