Brains need the right dietary mix to be healthy. Too much or too little of a good thing can lead to an unhealthy brain and you could well end up depressed. While all nutrients are important in healthy brains and healthy bodies, it turns out that some are more critical in our brain function than others. Omega 3 fatty acids are a great example. Your brain consists mostly of fat and without Omega 3s, a critical fat for your brain, you may end up fighting depression. If you add Omega 3 to your diet, you may get some relief from depression.
The question, then, is: What are you deficient in? In the depression case, there are some usual suspects: Omega 3s, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, iron in postpartum women, and possibly vitamin D in the winter. I discuss these nutrients and more in the Good Days Strategies approach I outline on this site which you can read about here.
But what can you do right now to start down the right food path? You need to eat food packed with nutrition. In my book Rebuild From Depression, I identify foods highest in seven nutrients most commonly associated with depression and call those foods “depression buster foods.” I use the USDA nutrient database of over 5,000 foods and foods most likely to help us fight depression. This is the first sort of analysis of food and depression of its kind. There are many “lists” out there of foods, some lists of foods that fight depression, but this is the first list based on a systematic selection of nutrients that performs a systematic analysis of over 5,000 foods.
Do not get me wrong, food is not a drug as defined by the FDA, a substance that has a pharmacological effect on depression. The food may help bust your depression if the food has nutrients you are deficient in.
Start eating whole foods today. Make sure they have plenty of brain-building Omega 3 fats, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, and iron. Keep in mind too that winning the long game against depression and fighting diseases of the aging brain requires more than just food. If maintaining a health brain is of interest to you, you must join me in my “Good Days Strategies” where I discuss leveraging your good days to reduce your bad, in terms of food but also your more general lifestyle. Read a little more about my philosophy here.