Can You Eat Your Way Out Of Depression? 8 Foods That Can Help
Image Credit: Dark chocolates are a stress reliever | Unsplash

Depression can be a tough thing to cope with, and it often seems like there's no end in sight. It’s said that comfort eating is a symptom of emotional distress. But what if you could eat your way out of depression? Believe it or not, there are certain foods that can have a strong positive impact on your mood and mental health. Research has shown that certain food items, from salmon to dark chocolate, can help improve our mood, reduce stress levels, and even boost your serotonin levels.  

What Is Depression, and How Can Food Help?

Depression is a medical condition that affects a person's thoughts, feelings, behavior, and physical health. It can cause a person to feel sad, anxious, or hopeless for weeks or even months at a time. It can also lead to physical symptoms such as fatigue, changes in appetite, and difficulty sleeping.

But how can food help? Eating certain types of food can help regulate the hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain that are responsible for our moods. Eating foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients can help improve our mental health and fight off depression.

Here are 8 foods that can help you eat your way out of depression:


Salmon consumption can help improve brain health and functionality. Oily fish like salmon is beneficial for depression as it is a top source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for optimal brain health. The brain is composed of roughly 60% fatty acids, which contain docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid found in oily fish such as salmon. Eating fatty fish like salmon is the best way to ensure adequate DHA levels and maintain healthy brain functioning. You can prepare it in a variety of ways, such as baking, grilling, or poaching. 

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants, which can help with stress relief and mood enhancement. It provides neuron protection, enhances cognition, and results in a positive mood. To get the most out of dark chocolate, try to have no more than an ounce per day. Make sure to choose dark chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa to get the most benefits.


Berries are packed with vitamins and antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and stress. They are also a great source of fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar levels, and vitamin C, which helps boost our immune system. To get the most out of berries, try to incorporate them into your diet every day. You can enjoy them in smoothies, salads, or just on their own.

Nuts and Seeds

Different types of nuts have particular benefits. Almonds have been known to aid memory, the oils from pistachios can keep fatty acids from deteriorating and reduce inflammation, and macadamias are good for regular brain performance.

Leafy Greens

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Leafy greens are packed with vitamins and minerals, which can help improve our mood and reduce stress. Eating green leafy vegetables may help prevent cognitive decline as you get older, thanks to the neuroprotective effects of lutein, folate, -carotene, and phylloquinone.

Whole Grains

Whole grains are a great source of fiber and B vitamins, which can help reduce stress and improve mood. Numerous B vitamins contained in whole grains like oats, barley, and quinoa can decrease inflammation in the brain, which is likely to keep the memory functioning well. You can enjoy them in oatmeal, bread, chapatis, etc.


Avocados are rich in healthy fats, which can help improve our mood and reduce stress. Avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fat, with 13.3 grams present in each fruit, and they also provide numerous vitamins and minerals that have been found to enhance brain health and psychological performance. You can enjoy them in salads, smoothies, or just on their own.

Fermented Foods

Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha are rich in probiotics, which can help reduce stress and improve mood. It is connected to the reduction of symptoms of depression and anxiety. As anxiety can worsen cognitive capabilities, it is possible that strategies based on gut microbiota may improve mental ability by diminishing signs of anxiety.

Additional Tips for Eating Your Way Out of Depression

In addition to eating the right foods, there are some other tips you can follow to help improve your mood and reduce stress. Here are some tips that can help:

  • Get plenty of sleep: Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
  • Exercise regularly: Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day.
  • Spend time outside. Get fresh air and sunlight every day.
  • Practice mindfulness: Take time to be mindful and aware of your thoughts and feelings.
  • Connect with others: Make time to connect with family and friends.
  • Reduce stress: Find ways to reduce stress, such as taking a break from work or limiting screen time.

Following these tips can help you feel better, both physically and mentally.