The Role of Food in Anxiety and Depression

Did you know that the food you eat can have an impact on your mood?

Just as a car needs gasoline to run; our bodies need fuel to function. It is important to put the right fuel in the body for it to function at its best. A balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, beans/lentils, nuts/seeds can have a positive impact on your mental health.

Focus on the following nutrients, along with a healthy diet:

Complex carbohydrates: metabolized slower, help to maintain more even blood sugar levels, create a calmer feeling
(examples: beans/legumes, whole grains, vegetables)

Magnesium: foods that are rich in magnesium can help a person feel more calm
(examples: leafy greens, nuts/seeds, legumes, whole grains)

Zinc: foods that are rich in zinc have been linked to helping lower anxiety
(examples: liver, beef, oysters, cashews, egg yolks)

Omega 3 Fatty Acids: important for brain health
(examples: salmon, tuna, flaxseed, walnuts)

Vitamin D: important for brain function and insufficient levels may increase risk of depression or other mental illnesses
(examples: salmon, other fatty fish, fortified cereal, orange juice, milk)

Vitamin B12: along with other B vitamins it an affect mood and other brain functions since they play a part in making brain chemicals
(examples: lean meat including fish and poultry, eggs, dairy products)

Nutrition Tips:

  • It is recommended not to skip meals as this can cause a drop in blood sugar levels leaving you feeling jittery, which could worsen anxiety.
  • Limit sugar intake as this can help improve anxiety and depression symptoms.
  • If not getting a balanced diet, multivitamins and nutrition supplements can be an option to get the nutrients you need.
  • Medication and behavior therapy may also be needed in treating anxiety and depression.

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