Food & Vitamins for Mental Health: Supplements That Help Fight Depression

When you are depressed, your diet may be the last thing on your mind. You might not feel like eating at all, or your appetite might feel insatiable. But what you eat can make a difference in how you feel.

If you are struggling with depression, several food supplements can help alleviate the symptoms of depression and improve your mood. Here is a list of 10 food supplements that have been found to boost mood and fight depression.

1. Vitamin D

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Depression is linked to vitamin D deficiency, but the exact mechanism is not known. Some studies have shown that vitamin D supplementation can help reduce symptoms of depression when taken along with antidepressants. However, more research is needed before any definitive conclusions can be drawn.

Vitamin D regulates several bodily functions, including mood regulation and immunity. Sun exposure daily is the best way to increase your vitamin D levels naturally. If you cannot get enough sun exposure, consider taking a vitamin D supplement or ask your doctor.

2. Dark Chocolate

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Dark chocolate is a well-known mood booster. It contains theobromine and phenylethylamine, chemical compounds that stimulate the nervous system and brain. Theobromine is also similar to caffeine.

Several studies have found that eating dark chocolate may reduce stress hormones in the body, which can help fight depression.

In one study, researchers gave women who had previously reported feeling stressed a 60 percent cocoa dark chocolate bar or a white chocolate bar with no cocoa at all. The women who ate the dark chocolate reported feeling less stressed and had lower levels of stress hormones in their urine than those who ate the white chocolate.

In another study, researchers found similar results in diabetic men. Eating dark chocolate helped reduce blood pressure, cortisol levels (a stress hormone), and inflammation in stressed men.

Since dark chocolate is high in calories and saturated fat, eating it in moderation is best.

3. Turmeric

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Turmeric is a bright yellow spice that gives curry its signature color and flavor. It’s also known for its antioxidant properties — fighting cancer, improving brain function, and relieving pain. And now, new research published in the journal Phytotherapy Research suggests it can help alleviate symptoms of depression.

4. Ginger

Ginger
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Ginger has been used as a medicine for thousands of years, and it is still a potent herb that can help with depression. It contains high levels of manganese and vitamin B6, which are excellent for fighting depression. The herb also contains potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C, which are natural relaxants. Ginger tea is the best way to consume ginger when you’re depressed.

5. Vitamin B12

Chicken eggs in sack
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Vitamin B12 is necessary to produce red blood cells and for proper brain and nervous system function. The vitamin plays a role in creating and maintaining myelin, a protective layer around nerve cells that helps carry information throughout your body.

Vitamin B12 is found naturally in animal products like eggs, milk, cheese, and meat; however, many people are deficient because they don’t consume enough of these foods or absorb enough vitamin B12 from their diet. Your body absorbs less vitamin B12 as you age because it relies on stomach acid to separate it from other food molecules so that it can be absorbed in your small intestine. 

Vitamin b12  is known as a mood regulator. It is also involved with the production of brain chemicals such as dopamine. Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to depression, fatigue, and cognitive problems. Good sources of vitamin B12 are milk products, eggs, meat, fish, poultry, and some fortified breakfast cereals.

6. Magnesium

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Magnesium is essential to relieve anxiety and depression. Scientists have found that this mineral significantly impacts the condition of your brain and nerve system, which can help reduce stress and anxiety. Magnesium is also essential for producing serotonin, which increases your mood. Serotonin helps you feel well-rested and calm, even under pressure.

Foods like leafy greens, legumes, seeds, and nuts are excellent sources of dietary magnesium. If you don’t get enough magnesium from your food, you should talk to your doctor about taking a supplement. Doctors often recommend 100 to 200 milligrams daily to prevent magnesium deficiency.

7. Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

 This vitamin is a water-soluble nutrient in the B-vitamin family. It helps the body produce serotonin, a hormone that regulates moods. Vitamin B6 can be found in foods such as beef liver, chicken breast, and tuna fish.

8. Zinc

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Zinc is an essential mineral that maintains immune function, protein synthesis, wound healing, DNA synthesis, and cell division. It is also vital in our ability to taste and smell. Zinc is found in meat, beans, nuts, whole grains, and dairy products.

We lose zinc through sweat, so those who exercise regularly must ensure they get enough zinc from their diet or through supplementation. Research shows that individuals with depression have lower levels of serum zinc compared to those without depression. A zinc deficiency can also affect our ability to deal with stress by impairing our body’s ability to regulate cortisol (the stress hormone).

9. Iron

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Iron is an essential mineral that helps produce red blood cells and transport oxygen throughout the body. It also plays a role in neurotransmitter production, a process that’s disrupted during depression. Iron-rich foods include red meat, spinach, and other dark leafy greens.

10. Probiotics (Gut Health)

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Probiotics may positively impact mood by promoting a healthy gut microbiome. They can improve the production and function of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which are essential for mood regulation. Probiotics also help reduce inflammation while strengthening the gut barrier function. The more efficiently and better the gut can digest food, the better essential nutrients can get to work, helping us feel our best.

Fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi are excellent foods to eat that are naturally rich in probiotics. Incorporating these foods into your diet a few days a week is a great way to maintain a balanced diet and enhance overall nutrition. 

While research on the role of specific foods and supplements in mental health is still evolving, several studies suggest that these ten foods and nutrients may positively impact mood and overall psychological well-being. However, it’s essential to choose the right source or form of each vitamin and consult a healthcare professional before starting any supplementation regimen, especially if you have existing health conditions or are taking medications.

18 Life Lessons Many Wish They’d Learned Earlier in Life

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

As Gen X journey through the ever-changing landscapes of work, relationships, and personal growth, they’ve gained insights they wish to impart to their younger selves. These life lessons are not only reflective of their generation but also universally relevant. Let’s delve into 18 profound lessons that Gen Xers hope to share with the next generation.

18 Life Lessons Many Wish They’d Learned Earlier in Life

18 Surprising Realities Behind Historical Facts

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Truth can be stranger than fiction when it comes to tales from the past. But sometimes, the fiction is what we remember. So, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of some historical myths we’ve often accepted as fact. Prepare to be surprised!

18 Surprising Realities Behind Historical Facts

18 Startling Life Lessons Threatening Our Kids’ Futures

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Raising kids is like building IKEA furniture without a manual: all those mysterious parts and no idea where they go. We’ve been making some assembly errors regarding the life lessons we’ve been handing down. So, grab your metaphorical Allen wrench! It’s time to tweak, twist, and retighten those wonky lessons we’re dishing out to our future adults.

18 Startling Life Lessons Threatening Our Kids’ Futures

Author: Kinda Frugal

Expertise: Money, entertainment, family, and travel.

Bio:

Being “kinda” frugal to us means finding joy in simplicity and embracing the art of maximizing our earnings and getting the best value out of every dollar spent. It’s not just about saving money; it’s about creating a life that aligns with our values and dreams.

As we grew and evolved, we couldn’t help but share our experiences beyond just frugality. Our site now covers many topics close to our hearts, like entertainment, family, relationships, travel, and the latest trends. It’s become a hub of inspiration and practical advice for leading a fulfilling life in all aspects.