Health & Fitness : Can A Healthy Diet Help You Deal with Depression?

The foods you consume cannot treat depression, but your diet does have significant effects on your mood, energy levels, mental health, and your ability to cope with stress.

Talk to Your Health Care Provider
Be open and honest when discussing your symptoms and feelings. Because depression can have many underlying causes, your doctor should perform a complete physical and also check the following:

  • Thyroid. The thyroid gland controls yours metabolism but indirectly affects your mood. An overactive thyroid can make you feel anxious and irritable, while an under-active thyroid can cause sluggishness, exhaustion, loss of appetite, weight gain, and hair loss.
  • Iron levels. Low iron stores can alter your mood, cause fatigue and difficulty concentrating, and decrease mental alertness.
  • Oral contraceptives. Birth control pills can also shift hormone levels and alter mood swings, depression, and fatigue.
  • Sleeping habits. Changes in your sleeping patterns and the quality of your sleep can be closely related to your mood. A lack of sleep can cause many symptoms similar to those of depression.

Dietary Tips for People with Depression

Structure your meals.

Eat at approximately the same times each day and don’t skip meals. Enjoy three well-balanced meals and plan snacks between meals. This will help insure that your body is getting the right nutrients throughout the course of the day.

Eat quality nutrients.

Individuals who are trying to lose weight and have a history of depression must work to eat foods that are good for the body and the brain. Try incorporating more whole foods, fruits and veggies, and healthy fats by starting with this list of super foods.

Eat plenty of calories.

Extremely low-calorie diets alter your metabolism and increase your risk of malnutrition. Eating less than 1,000 calories per day reduces the amount of tryptophan in your body. As a result, serotonin levels drop, which increases symptoms of depression and its chances of recurring.
Cut back on caffeine.

Caffeine acts as a stimulant, making you feel anxious and interfering with sleep patterns. Consume no more than 200- 300 milligrams of caffeine daily.

Avoid alcohol and drugs.

Alcohol and illicit drugs can interact with antidepressant medications and other over-the-counter medications. For many, depression and substance abuse are already closely connected.

Eat plenty of good carbohydrates.

This will increase the amount of serotonin in the brain. High serotonin levels can improve mood and decrease symptoms of depression. At minimum, aim for at least 130 grams of carbohydrates each day. And try to forgo the processed, “white” carbs (white rice, white bread, white flour, etc.) in favor of less processed foods like whole grains, fruits and veggies.246391-depression-running

Losing Weight While Dealing with Depression
If you are trying to balance weight loss with depression treatment, the following tips will help you out:

  • Inform your health care provider before beginning a diet for weight loss.
  • With your doctor’s approval, proceed with a slow-paced weight loss plan, aiming to lose no more than 0.5 pounds each week.
  • Follow a balanced diet that meets all of your nutritional needs for protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. A registered dietitian in your area can provide an individualized plan to meet your nutritional needs based on your medical history and treatment therapy.
  • Carefully evaluate your mood changes while dieting and seek immediate treatment if you notice any changes.

Depression is difficult for anyone who lives with it. While dietary changes alone aren’t a surefire way to prevent or treat depression, they can help you feel better when combined with the treatment options that your health care provider recommends.

Book a Personal Trainer

Your Name (Required)

Your Email (Required)

Your Phone No.

Your Question


  • Kelly
    16th June 2015 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    I know Depression and there is no way, just diet alone will get rid of it. Living in Dubai for the past seven years, there are times, depression kicks in just because i’m missing family and friends back home. Overall this is a great article but some feelings are never deep rooted but are “thought of the hour” over something you taken for granted. When i go back to the UK, i enjoy every moment of being with my loved ones.

    • 16th June 2015 - 10:06 am | Permalink

      @Kelly – Well said. I have been living in Dubai for little less than two years and it was hard in the first couple of months. Since i started working, time goes by really fast. In my case, my family/friends love Dubai and come visit every chance they get. As for treating depression: “The foods you consume cannot treat depression, but your diet does have significant effects on your mood, energy levels, mental health, and your ability to cope with stress”. For example –
      Thyroid: indirectly affects your mood
      Low iron: i suffer with it, although i’m very active and have flow of private personal training clients – when my iron is low, fatigue kicks in and I find it hard to concentrate. It makes me feel and look depressed (i normally have supply of honey, spinach and beetroot, which brings my iron level to normal ).

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

    Powered by: Wordpress