10 Helpful Foods

That Fight Depression


Walnuts are a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids. These have

been shown to be able to support the functioning of the brain and can also

help to reduce depression. The fact that many modern diets don’t include

these compounds could be contributing to increasing cases of depression.

Brazil Nuts

Brazil Nuts contain 14 percent protein, 12 percent carbohydrate, and

66 percent fat. They have a high content of polyunsaturated fat with a

majority of omega-6 fatty acids. They are also high in selenium that can

help reduce anxiety as it improves mood by decreasing inflammation. This

is important as an individual with a mood disorder such as anxiety has

heightened levels of inflammation.

Selenium also has other benefits such as preventing cell damage as it is an

antioxidant and cancer prevention. Other great sources of selenium include

animal products, other nuts, mushrooms, soybeans, and vegetables. It is

important not to consume excessive amounts of selenium as it can result in

side effects. The current recommendation for adults is 400 micro-grams per

day. Besides selenium, Brazil nuts are also a good source of vitamin E,

which can also benefit individuals with depression.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds or "pepita", are an edible seed obtained from cultivars

of squash or pumpkin. These seeds are usually asymmetrically oval and

flat. They are rich in nutrients and calories as they have a high fat content

(linolenic and oleic acid), dietary fiber, protein, and other micro-nutrients.

They have also been used as an anti-helminthic in folk medicine by the

Native Americans.

Due to their high content of potassium, they also help regulate blood

pressure and electrolyte balance. Foods that are rich in potassium can help

reduce anxiety. Besides potassium, pumpkin seeds are also a good source

of zinc, which have been found to be essential for brain and nerve

development. A study involving 100 participants reported that zinc

deficiency can negatively affect mood.


Eggs are a great source of protein as they are considered to be a

complete protein. This means that eggs have all the essential amino acids

needed by the human body for maintenance, development, and growth.

Eggs also contain tryptophan, which is crucial in the production of

serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps in the regulation of

behavior, mood, memory, and sleep. Besides improving brain function,

serotonin can also help reduce anxiety. Egg yolks are also a good source

of vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to mood disorders such

as anxiety and depression.

Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate is chocolate that contains cocoa butter, cocoa solids,

and sugar. However, the standards of what is considered to be dark

chocolate may vary by country and market. Dark chocolate has a

reputation of being healthier compared to other chocolates such as milk

chocolate or white chocolate.

Experts have long believed that dark chocolate is beneficial for those with

anxiety and stress. In 2014, a study reported that 40 grams of dark

chocolate helped decrease perceived stress among their study participants.

Other studies found that it helps improve mood. While there is no hard

evidence due to most studies being observational, its anxiety and

stress-relieving properties have been attributed to it being a rich source of

polyphenols, particularly flavonoids, that may help reduce cell death,

improve blood flow, and decrease inflammation in the brain. Dark chocolate

also contains tryptophan, a crucial component in the production of



Chamomile is a name used to describe daisy-like plants that can be

used for traditional medicine or herbal infusions. It is currently being

researched for its anti-anxiety properties. Globally, it is often used as an

herbal remedy due to its relaxing, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and

antibacterial properties.

There are some that believe its anti-anxiety or relaxing properties are due

to the presence of flavonoids. There is also a recent study that has

reported that while chamomile does not prevent new anxiety episodes, it

helps reduce the symptoms of anxiety. Those who would like to try it can

purchase chamomile from stores.


Yogurt is a food made through the fermentation of milk by bacteria.

These bacteria are also known as yogurt cultures. When the lactose in the

milk is fermented, it produces lactic acid, which in turn results in the

characteristic texture and tart taste. Since cow’s milk is available globally, it

is also the most commonly used milk to make yogurt. Other types of milk

that can be used include milk from goats, mares, water buffalo, yaks, and


The bacteria in yogurt are healthy as they are beneficial for gut health.

There is increasing evidence showing that Lactobacillus and

Bifidobacterium can have positive effects on the brain. A clinical review

also reported that they may have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.

This can help with anxiety as some experts believe that chronic

inflammation may contribute to stress, anxiety, and depression. Besides

yogurt, other fermented foods such as kimchi, cheese, and sauerkraut may

also have similar effects.


Turmeric is a plant from the ginger family. The rhizomes are gathered,

boiled, and dried. This produces the deep orangish yellow color that is

often used as a spice in many Asian dishes. It is studied in numerous

researches for its anti-inflammatory properties.

One of the main active ingredients in turmeric is called curcumin that may

help reduce anxiety by decreasing oxidative stress and inflammation that is

often seen among those with mood disorders. In 2015, a study reported

that curcumin helped reduce anxiety among their obese participants.

Another found that it increases DHA and decreases anxiety.

Green Tea

Green Tea is a type of tea that has not gone through the withering or

oxidation process used in other teas. It contains phytochemicals such as

caffeine and polyphenols. Despite many efforts in research to find evidence

to support the health claims of green tea, there has not been any

conclusive evidence. However, it is believed to help those with anxiety as it

contains an amino acid known as theanine.

Theanine has calming and anti-anxiety effects. It may also help increase

the production of dopamine and serotonin. In 2017, a review found that 200

mg of theanine can help reduce tension and increase calmness and



Asparagus is cultivated as a vegetable. It is low in calories and

sodium while being a good source of calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6,

zinc, protein, dietary fiber, vitamin C, E, K, beta carotene, iron, phosphorus,

copper, potassium, manganese, folic acid, selenium, and many more.