Finding a depression diet plan is tricky, with so much information on the subject. Some of which is conflicting; however, I have come up with my own plan, which involves eating like a bear. I’m not talking polar bears and seals or pandas and bamboo; I’m talking about your forest and coast-dwelling bear.
I want to say that this is not a diet to lose weight, but you probably will; my main focus is on eating good foods for the brain and the stomach and increasing serotonin or benefits them both in other ways. I am not a dietician or an expert in anything except my own mental wellbeing. I thought I would share with you what I eat when I am depressed.
What to Expect on the Depression Diet Plan
The depression diet plan is simple and easy to follow; if it weren’t, I would not do it. I’m on a limited budget, so I need healthy and cheap foods so that you can forget your goji berries or expensive supplements. Although I recommend supplements, they are from an online health shop that is value for money and quality.
I’m not a cook either; in fact, my oven has been broken for the past eight months, so there won’t be any recipes; this is eating as is and only the minimal cooking required. The diet won’t suit everyone, especially those who like a hearty cooked meal; this is all about grazing!
However, it is easy to incorporate into everyday life, and you might find you have even more time on your hands for therapies and self-care because you don’t have to worry so much about cooking a meal.
The depression diet plan is all about simplicity, as when you are depressed, the last thing you want to do is faff about trying to prepare gourmet meals. I, for one, am not that way inclined and seeing as this is how I do things, it’s as simple as it gets.
There is no set amount of food to eat; you can eat as little or as much of something as you wish. The only thing you need to do is buy the food, remember this is not to lose weight or gain weight. This is making that brain work at its optimum. To do that, the depression diet is a holistic one, as it will feed the gut and form a healthy microbiome in your belly, which in turn will lead to good feelings in the brain.
So let’s get started…
Omega 3 – Oily Fish and Nuts
I’m not a fish lover, but if you are, you will probably want to buy some mackerel or salmon rather than using supplements to get your healthy oils.
Why is oily fish good for you? Because it contains omega 3’s which are great for the brain and can improve memory and mood. However, if you are a vegan, you can also obtain these from walnuts, flaxseed, and expensive chia seed.
Because I don’t like eating fish, I take a fish oil supplement, or rather a Krill Oil supplement, as some studies suggest it has more potency in the body.
a large portion of the omega-3 fats in krill oil can be found in the form of molecules called phospholipids, which may be easier to absorb into the bloodstream…Healthline
I know bears will rarely be hunting krill, but they hunt salmon, and they eat nuts and seeds containing omega 3. And, I like to follow this path on Omega 3.
The benefits of Omega 3 are huge, and I highly recommend a supplement to get your daily dose. It can help your brain along with your heart, mood, joints, and memory, plus a myriad of other things, all of which go towards building a better base for good mental health.
[AF] You can buy your krill oil or omega 3 oil from Piping Rock; it is the online health supplement store I was on about earlier; they are great value for money. Plus, they sell top-quality supplements. I use them all the time.
Tryptophan – Chicken & Oats
OK, a bear might not come across a chicken, but it would have no qualms about eating it if it did. But the beauty of the chicken is it contains tryptophan which helps us produce serotonin which helps regulate it within our bodies and therefore improves depression.
Whenever I am depressed, I crave chicken, and I normally have it in the form of a sandwich. But I use bread with toppings, such as oats and seeds to get even more of the good tryptophan into me. The depression diet plan is all about boosting serotonin and feels good hormones, and this is one food you will want to use in your diet.
But what is tryptophan?
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that cannot be produced by the human body and must be obtained through your diet, primarily from animal or plant based protein sources.WebMD
Sometimes I am so unwell that I can’t even make a sandwich, so I buy a takeout chicken sandwich, and if it doesn’t come with a seeded topping, I will have a glass of milk with my meal as this contains tryptophan.
Wholegrains from the bread also help the body absorb tryptophan, so you get the best of both the good mood-improving food and the thing that holds it together is your whole grain bread.
Iron – Liver and Spinach
When animals have their prey on the ground, the first thing they want to do is get to the liver, gross but true. This is where the good stuff is, and the liver contains a lot of iron. Along with B vitamins, although I don’t recommend eating it daily, I tend to eat it once or twice a week in the form of liver pate on toast. I told you this diet was simple.
Iron is good for the body as a whole, if you are too low in iron, you can suffer the effects of depression, and it is worth going to your doctor to get a blood test to see if your levels are too low.
If you don’t like liver, not everyone does, or you are a vegan, you can also get iron from spinach, but even better would be beans, like kidney beans or some dried apricots. I love dried apricots; I eat a handful of these a few times per week.
Iron deficiency in our world has become a bit of a problem, and there are probably more people with depression who have an iron deficiency than not. This is my guess anyway.
Iron is involved in many neurological activities and deficiency is associated with anxiety and depressive symptoms… Iron, an indispensable nutritional element for every living organism, is essential for numerous important functions, such as transport of oxygen, cellular respiration, immune function, neurotransmitter metabolism and DNA synthesis.BMC Psychiatry
Getting your iron levels in good working order will benefit you, but don’t overdo it on the supplements as your poo will turn black, oh and if you are pregnant, get your iron from dried apricots, avoid liver.
Probiotics – Yoghurt & Sauerkraut
OK, I admit it, the bear would not come by yoghurt or sauerkraut, but it would eat fermented fruit, so this is close enough for me. We have a living body with life inside of us, which helps with our digestion and impacts our brain.
I use probiotics as a supplement; I take them every day to improve my gut health. The depression diet plan is all about a holistic view of your body and brain. Now, I know probiotics make me feel better. They even changed the way I eat; weirdly, they dictate to me what they want, nutritional wise and I, in turn, feed them. Sounds odd, right? But the stomach and brain connection is real, and your microbiome is there to help you.
You want this friendly bacteria in your body, the consequences of having bad bacteria are feeling unwell, either physically or mentally.
Now researchers are finding evidence that the effects of bacteria in the gastrointestinal (GI) system send signals to the central nervous system, linking the gut with the brain. This could account for some known connections between GI illness and mental illness. For example, a higher-than-average number of people with irritable bowel syndrome also develop depression and anxiety.Hopkins Medicine
Getting your guts right will improve your mental health, and my depression diet plan will help you achieve this, even if you only take on board the probiotic aspect.
Nutrient-Dense Foods – Mussels to Brussels
Have you seen wildlife programmes where the bear is searching under stones and rocks looking for shellfish, then here is the reason why:
Twelve Antidepressant Nutrients relate to the prevention and treatment of depressive disorders: Folate, iron, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), magnesium, potassium, selenium, thiamine, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, and zinc. The highest scoring foods were bivalves such as oysters and mussels, various seafoods, and organ meats for animal foods. The highest scoring plant foods were leafy greens, lettuces, peppers, and cruciferous vegetables.NCBI
Look at that; all those foods work towards combatting depressive illness. I love shellfish, and you should try and get some mussels into your diet; if you are vegan, then your best choice would be those leafy greens again. We need these foods to make us feel good.
What Does a Depressive Diet Food Plan Look Like?
It is entirely up to you, but you will want to reduce your sugar content; otherwise, you will get more sugar hungry bacteria in your gut rather than those who love healthier food. Meaning they’ll send messages to your brain telling you to eat more sugary foods. Starve them of sugar for a couple of weeks, and you will see an improvement.
My daily diet usually consists of grazing after I have had my supplements in the morning, which are:
- Krill Oil
- Vitamin D
- Iron (every other day)
- CBD Oil once or twice per day
My food usually is a mixture of these:
- Chicken sandwich or wrap with leafy green veg usually twice a day, but if just once, then it’s probably because I’ve eaten too many nuts.
- A handful of seeds or nuts
- Hard-boiled egg
- Dark Chocolate
- Dried apricots or other dried fruit
- Apple or Pear
- Liver Pate on toast twice per week
- Mussels or cockles as and when the mood takes me.
- Few chunks of cheese now and again
- Glass of milk
I am also on medication which can affect my probiotic levels, but I have found if I take the probiotics on an empty stomach, they possibly fair better than if taken with my meds; this may be my imagination, but I like to give them a helping hand.
The depression diet plan is all about eating well for your brain and body, you can eat whatever you want but your main concern should be about getting, Omega 3, Tryptophan, Iron, Probiotics and other essential nutrients into your diet.
If you have any questions then please leave in the comments below, or if you have any suggestions or you want to comment on the article, please do so, I’d love to hear from you.
Peace & Blessings