Health Outcomes - Mood and Depression

Mood and Depression
Foods rich in nutrients, including vitamins and healthy fats, lead to lower incidences of depression and anxiety disorders. For women, nutrient-rich foods decrease occurrences of depression by 40 percent.

The link between nutrition and depression

Depression can be debilitating. Major symptoms include increased sadness and anxiety, loss of appetite, depressed mood and loss of interest in pleasurable activities. There’s a direct link between nutrition and depression, much like the correlation between nutritional deficiencies and physical illness.

Foods rich in whole grains, as well as fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts and healthy fats, can lower incidences of depression and anxiety disorders. This is especially true for women, who struggle with depression twice as much as men. Nutrient-dense foods can improve mood because they contain:

  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamins A, C, E, D and selenium
  • Fiber and healthy fats, such as omega-3s

The B vitamins and vitamin D are particularly important to improving mood and decreasing stress and anxiety. Fiber, especially soluble fiber that promotes growth of healthy gut bacteria, taken in conjunction with probiotics also lessens depressive symptoms. Lastly, the amino acids tryptophan, tyrosine, phenylalanine and methionine serve as precursors for mood-regulating neurotransmitters and are often helpful in treating mood disorders such as depression.