How Food and Diet Can Help with Depression (cont.)

Medical Reviewer:

All kinds of beans -- such as pinto, garbanzo, black -- are rich in folate, the naturally occurring B vitamin. Folate, or folic acid, plays an important role in how the brain works. Your brain needs folic acid to make certain essential compounds and neurotransmitters. These carry messages from one area of your brain to another.

A study in The American Journal of Psychiatry in December 2012 found that certain patients with major depressive disorder responded better to antidepressants when additional folate was included in their treatment.

And although it still isn't clear whether folate is an effective treatment for depression, getting enough of this important vitamin is part of an overall healthy diet. Other sources of folate (folic acid) include:

  • asparagus,
  • spinach,
  • avocado,
  • broccoli,
  • fortified breakfast cereal,
  • eggs, and
  • tomato juice.

Fish Oil

Salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, albacore tuna: These oily fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Your body doesn't make omega-3s, so eating them is the only way you can get them. And like folic acid, omega-3s help build neurotransmitters, including serotonin, which help regulate mood. Getting enough omega-3s helps your body produce serotonin.

A study in 2011 in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that patients suffering from an episode of major depression improved when they were given omega-3 supplements.

An added bonus: Fatty acids from fish like omega-3s may also improve circulation and help lower your risk of heart disease.

Flaxseed and walnuts are also good sources of omega-3s.

Fortified Cereal