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Depression vs. Diet

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Therapy Blog for Counseling in Sacramento - Relationship Therapy Center

Depression vs. Diet

Nancy Ryan

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Making some simple adjustments to the foods that you eat can support your fight against depression, helping you to feel better, one bite at a time.

Depression management can be guided by your doctor in numerous ways.In fact, low levels of Vitamin D and thyroid imbalances contribute to depression.  Some of the most used and helpful mainframes include: Medications, cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT, meditation techniques, massage, yoga, reiki and exercise. But did you know the foods that you consume on a daily basis can be a major sub-structure to your depression management plan?  

Recent studies have shown that making healthy modulations to your diet can benefit your depression management plan in a number of ways.  A healthier diet can reduce your pain sensitivity caused by depression, including nerve pain and inflammation. Eliminating refined sugar and alcohol from your diet can also improve your depression.

While it is most important to see your doctor regularly and follow her/his depression management plan designed for you, there is more that you can do on your own to help yourself at every meal.    

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 produces energy that helps to conquer exhaustion, nerve damage, cognitive difficulties and anemia.  It assists in making DNA and red blood cells, and is vital for normal brain and nervous system function. Vitamin B12 can be found in foods including: Eggs, swiss cheese, fortified cereals, yogurt, mussels, clams, salmon, lean beef and chicken.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can only be obtained from food or supplements.  

Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is an antioxidant vital for tissue growth, and can assist in the function of adrenal gland function and lower blood pressure.  Vitamin C is found in foods including: Red and green peppers, brussels sprouts, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, winter squash, cauliflower tomatoes, kale, cantaloupe and strawberries.    

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, in addition to improving mood and symptoms of depression, is essential for proper muscle and bone function. Vitamin D has been shown to reduce joint pain, fatigue, muscle pain and weakness, in addition to respiratory issues.  Vitamin D is found in foods including: egg yolks, vitamin D-fortified milk, soy milk, salmon, tuna, shrimp, oysters and mushrooms.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant, helping protect the body from free radicals, compounds that can damage the body. Helping to prevent oxidative stress to the body, and reduce neuropathic pain, Vitamin E also assists with making red blood cells and supporting your immune system.  Vitamin E is found in foods including: avocados, Sunflower seeds, spinach, almonds, shrimp, trout, broccoli, kiwi fruit and butternut squash.

Additional Beneficial Foods

  • Tart cherries: High in antioxidants and cyanidine.

  • Soybeans: High in protein. Can decrease inflammation and slow oxidation.

  • Fruits rich in anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants include: red grapes, blueberries and cranberries.

  • Cocoa: Found in dark chocolate, cocoa contains flavonols.  Flavonols act as an anti-inflammatory agent.

  • Tumeric: Contains curcumin and fights inflammation.  Can be used to season lentils, rice and smoothies.

  • Ginger

  • Flaxseed

  • Almonds and walnuts

Remember that diversity is key. There are many recipes available online that include the beneficial foods, providing you plenty of options to avoid “getting bored.”  After all, variety is, indeed, the spice of life.

While there are actions you can take to help depression, more severe cases require a physician and therapist to assist.  Don’t wait any longer to get help. Contact us today! 916-426-2757

Jennifer Hagar, LMFT

Jennifer Hagar, LMFT


Jennifer Hagar, LMFT specializes in life transitions, including betrayals and trust issues in relationships, the challenges of having a blended family, going through a divorce and coparenting, as well as difficulties couples face in communication and conflict resolution. She also helps individuals facing difficulties with anxiety, depression, grief, and substance abuse with compassion, understanding, solutions and hope.