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Nutritionist reveals foods to ward off anxiety and depression

Nutritionist reveals foods to ward off anxiety and depression Illustrative photo (Photo: Freepik)
Author: Daria Shekina

Stress and depression are protective reactions of the body that can arise for various reasons. However, there are foods that can provoke such states, according to the Instagram page of nutritionist and physiologist Olha Dorosh.

How food affects health

It is important to remember that the connection between nutrition and mental health is two-sided: what we eat affects mental health, and the state of mental health affects what and how well a person eats.

During stress, the diet tends to include more high-calorie, low-nutrient value food, leading to the underconsumption of products rich in essential substances for the nervous system. Adding low physical activity, smoking, and alcohol exacerbates the damage.

Dorosh notes that reducing the frequency of depression and suicide occurs with healthy eating. The concentration of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which participates in plasticity and neurodegenerative processes, depends on nutrients.

What to eat

It is important to adhere to a healthy and balanced diet. Following the Mediterranean or MIND diet positively influences mental health. These diets can provide additional benefits for older people, particularly to support their cognitive abilities.

Vitamins B, zinc, and magnesium play a crucial role in the proper functioning of the nervous system. For example, zinc deficiency affects the severity of depression and mood swings.

Therefore, it is essential to add the following foods to the diet:

  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Lean meat
  • Organ meats
  • Leafy green vegetables

Include vegetables and fruits in the diet

They are good sources of antioxidants to protect cells. Vegetables and fruits also positively impact mental health, reducing the likelihood of depression and improving its treatment.

Include fish in the diet

Dorosh emphasizes that two servings of fish should be in the diet every week. Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for connections between nerve cells, receptor function, have anti-inflammatory effects, and influence the release of neurotransmitters.

Moreover, a low level of vitamin D is associated with a higher risk of schizophrenia, depression, irritability, fatigue, mood swings, and sleep problems.

How caffeine affects mood

Dorosh notes that caffeine can affect mood and sleep. Some people may experience changes in mood, irritability, and anxiety from consuming caffeinated drinks or food. Proper hydration, as important as food, is also necessary.

Earlier, we reported on products that reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.