Home Health CHERYL A. MAJOR: 7 Nutrients that May Help Prevent Depression

CHERYL A. MAJOR: 7 Nutrients that May Help Prevent Depression


 Cheryl A. Major is a volunteer contributor to WestfordCATNews. If you have news, email [email protected].

I hope you’ve had a chance to begin incorporating the first three of seven foods/nutrients that may help alleviate depression.  There are four more I want to share with you, so here they are:

#4: Tryptophan

Tryptophan is an amino acid that plays a critical role in the production of serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for making us feel content. Nutrition researchers have linked low serotonin levels with anxiety, depression, fatigue and even insomnia. To ensure that your body is producing enough serotonin, be sure you eat foods rich in tryptophan such as eggs, spinach, pumpkins, nuts, and peas.

#5: Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids help to treat a wide range of health conditions. The main benefit of these nutrients is improved brain function. The connection between omega-3 intake and depression is especially evident in communities where people don’t eat enough of these healthy fats and where depressive disorder rates tend to be high.

Seafood such as salmons, sardines, herring and rainbow trout are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids.  Besides fish, omega-3 can be found in walnuts as well as flax, hemp and chia seeds. An added benefit to eating chia seeds is that they help reduce blood pressure.

#6: B Vitamins

One Spanish study involving 5,459 women and 4,211 men found that rates of depression tended to rise among test subjects, regardless of gender who got too little B12 in their diet. Researchers are not sure whether lack of B vitamins causes depression or depression causes people to eat poorly. In any case, B vitamins are considered anti-stress nutrients which help to reduce anxiety and even treat symptoms of depression. Nutrition experts have found that folic acid (vitamin B9), niacin (vitamin B3), and pyridoxine (vitamin B6) support the amino acid tryptophan to manufacture serotonin, the “feel good” chemical. Things are so interconnected. It’s very cool!

To prevent depression with the help of B vitamins, be sure to include legumes, nuts, whole grains, leafy green vegetables and eggs in your diet.

#7: Vitamin D and Selenium

Selenium is an essential trace mineral found in lean meats, nuts, beans, seafood and whole grains. Several studies have linked deficiencies of this mineral and vitamin D with depression. You can get free vitamin D while basking in the sun, but that carries its own set of risks.  Excellent food sources of vitamin d and selenium include tofu and fish.

Can You Eat Your Way to a Better State of Mind?

While there is a growing body of scientific evidence that suggests certain foods can uplift mood, and I can tell you it absolutely worked for me, using nutrition to fight depression might not work for everyone. Depression may be caused by many different factors that range from the way your brain is wired, to financial problems, a stressful lifestyle, health issues, loneliness, the loss of a loved one or early childhood trauma. If trying to prevent this disorder through nutrition does not work, consult a medical professional in order to identify the cause of depression and the best ways to deal with it.

Cheryl A Major lives in Westford and is a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. Her TV show Thin Strong Healthy airs on WestfordCat and is an offshoot of her blog http://ThinStrongHealthy.com   Cheryl offers ongoing information and personal health coaching to help you feel better and be healthier.  Follow Cheryl on Twitter @CherylAMajor.  She is also a full time residential Realtor with Coldwell Banker with more than 25 years experience.

Questions?  Email Cheryl at [email protected] and be sure to put Health Question in the subject line.  Your question and its answer will be included in a future article.