Nutrition and Depression

Nutrition to fight Depression

We hear a lot in the media lately about depression and natural ways to combat it. As well as looking at various forms of exercise, getting outdoors in nature and meditation etc., it is really worth looking at what we eat. In 2017, a study in Australia showed that a group of people with depression improved their condition by eating a healthier diet. This was the first study to show that diet alone could reduce the symptoms of depression. A study done in Spain (Universities of Las Palmas and Navarra) found that people who ate the classic Mediterranean diet rich in fish, veg, olive oil, nuts, fruit and whole grains were 30% less likely to develop depression in the first place than those who didn’t.

Why does nutrition show these great benefits? Your brain uses a lot of energy. This energy is supplied by the food we eat. We need the right nutrients for our brain to function to its optimum level.

Our brains are 60% fat, so foods that are high in the correct form of fats are crucial to our brain health. We get these fats from oily fish, nuts and seeds, olive oil, avocado etc.
Mood-Enhancing Foods

These are essential nutrients, (meaning, our bodies can’t make them), so we must get them in our diet. They are vital for brain health. Populations that don’t get enough Omega-3’s have higher rates of depression. They also improve the reception of neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the brain). Omega 3’s are also very anti-inflammatory, which further helps with many mental health issues.


  • Fish  (especially cold-water fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines)
  • Nuts and seeds (such as flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts)
  • Plant oils (such as flaxseed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil)
  • Supplement

Vitamin D enhances the production of the growth factor for our brain cells. It is also anti-inflammatory.


  • Sunshine
  • Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon.
  • Beef liver.
  • Cheese.
  • Egg yolks.
  • Supplement


Many studies have linked depression with low levels of selenium. Selenium is an antioxidant that protects the brain from pollution coming from the air we breathe. It also neutralises pollution we create internally.


  • Brazil nuts are one of the best sources of selenium
  • Fish. Yellowfin tuna contains about 92 mcg of selenium per 3 ounces (oz), making it an excellent source of selenium
  • Beef
  • Turkey
  • Chicken.
  • Whole grains
  • Eggs



Amino acids are the building blocks of neurotransmitters, which transport messages around the brain. The amino acid Tryptophan builds the mood-boosting hormone, Serotonin. Taurine has a calming effect on the brain, helping with anxiety and poor sleep. Most people are deficient in it. Glycine also helps with anxiety.


  • All protein foods but particularly eggs, beans, seeds
  • Supplement


The B vitamins are all beneficial to mental health. Folic acid improves mood. B12 is important for the health of the nervous system. B6 is important for hormone balance, so it’s helpful to women during the menstrual cycle.



  • Green leafy veg
  • Beans
  • Wholegrains
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Peanuts