Fight Depression with Delicious, Healthy Foods

posted in: Guest Post, Mental Health | 17

This is a guest post from Cindy Johnson. She writes a blog at She was kind enough to offer a post on Fighting Depression with healthy foods. I thought this was a great idea and a great fit for my blog, so you will find her post below: 

Fight Depression with Delicious, Healthy Foods Image of a healthy meal, Grilled Fish and vegetables

By Cindy Johnson

Depression is virtually unknown in some countries and a growing concern in others, including the US. Can bad diets be the cause? Some scientists say yes. Small changes to your diet can make a huge difference in controlling mood disorders.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in any given year nearly 7% of the adult population in the US suffers from serious depression, and almost 17% are treated for depression at some point in their lives. Teenagers are particularly susceptible to mood disorders as well, and depression often starts early. But a growing body of scientific research points to some simple diet changes that can help stave off depression and help you or your teen maintain an even keel.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Recent studies conducted in Finland and Japan found that people who eat a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids have remarkably lower incidence of depression and suicide. So how do you add omega-3 fatty acids to your diet? You’ll love this because it’s so easy. Plenty of delicious, nutritious foods are leaded with exactly what you need. Here’s a list in order of highest concentration:

  • Flax seed and flax seed oil offers the most the highest concentration of omega-3 to be found in any food. Find it in butter substitutes (example: Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread) or buy flax seeds and sprinkle them into your cereal or bake them into muffins. Flax seed are tiny and more or less flavorless, so they can be added to lots of recipes.
  • Oily, cold water fish like tuna, sardines, and salmon are great sources for omega-3 fatty acids. Adding just two fish meals to your weekly menu, and sure, one of those can be a tuna sandwich for lunch, will help fight depression. Caviar and oysters are great, too.
  • Spinach – loaded with the good stuff. Eat it often. Hate the taste? How about a yummy spinach dip made with plain or Greek yogurt to up the nutrition and lower the fat? If dip isn’t your thing either, chop spinach fine and drop it in spaghetti sauces, chili, meatloaf (seriously, mix it right into your meatloaf like an herb), soups, or any casserole or stew type dish. You won’t taste it, and you will reap the benefits.
  • Walnuts are not only a great snack loaded with protein to fill you up, they are loaded with good fat. So grab a handful instead of chips.
  • Cooking oils, like canola, olive, soy, and sunflower have no saturated fats and plenty of omega-3. Salad dressings and mayonnaise made with omega-3 laden oils are also excellent. So your tuna salad gets a double dose!
  • A lot of common herbs and spices have omega-3, including basil, oregano, marjoram, cloves, and fresh mint. So load up your dishes with flavor and crank up the health benefits at the same time.

Folate and Uridine

Folate is a nutrient most people aren’t even aware of, but come up short on your daily intake and it can trigger depression, exhaustion, and insomnia. And researchers at McLean Hospital in Massachusetts found that consuming foods rich in uridine is mood elevating. So what do these two things have in common? Beets. That’s right, by adding fresh beets to your diet, you fight depression on two fronts. Uncooked beets are better, so try grating them up to add to salad or even mixing grated beets into a fruit smoothie. Much like adding carrots, they will add nutrients and color without overpowering the taste.

Selenium and Vitamin D

Deficiencies in selenium have been linked to a host of disorders, including anxiety, depression and fatigue. Mushrooms are a great source of selenium and they are also jam-packed with vitamin D, a mood elevating nutrient that hardly any of us get enough of that’s been linked to SAD (seasonal affective disorder). They are also filling, meaty, low-cal, and a good source of fiber to keep the plumbing running smoothly. Saute mushrooms in olive oil or flax seed oil spread, add a splash of white or red wine, and you have a delicious side for any meal.

Here’s the best news. Every food on this list is über-nutritious and a great addition to a healthy lifestyle. So no matter what your health challenges, you can’t go wrong by adding these foods to your diet (unless you have food allergies). Each one has benefits that go above and beyond mood elevation for better nutrition and better health. What’s not to love about that?

Bio: Cindy Johnson is a health nut and avid fan of Dr. Oz. Read her blog at



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17 Responses

  1. Evelyn Harford

    Good, sound advice – sounds very easy to follow! I love the idea of adding purple to dishes with fresh beet.

    • I have never eaten beets but I have heard this before so now is the time to get started.. Cindy was kind to share this article with us.. thank you for dropping by and leaving us a comment, we appreciate it!

  2. This is a fascinating take on alternative treatment of depression. As I’ve gotten older I find myself gravitating to and Omega 3 rich diet and have noticed that I “feel” a lot better since doing that. While my take is certainly unscientific I can certainly say that Omega3 has worked wonders for me not only for emotional state but from a cardiac health standpoint.

    • I agree I have seen a big improvement in my dad since he started to increase omega 3’s as well so it is time I get to it.. Cindy wrote a great post and I appreciate her sharing it with us all.. Thank you for dropping by and leaving us a comment! :) Glad to hear you are feeling a bit better.

  3. I definitely need to start eating right to fight off depression. I do have bouts every now and then. Thanks for sharing this :)

  4. Jennifer H

    Great post!

  5. When I had boughts of depression, I bought the book “Food and Mood,” and it changed my life. The omega-3 were the biggest life-changers for me! It’s amazing how affected we are by food and don’t even realize it!

    • I think most of us know that food is important and we do not eat right but really we need more awareness… Thanks for dropping by and reading the post and commenting I really appreciate the support!!

  6. Carla Barilá Karam

    Shauna {and Cindy}… great post. I have dealt with depression most of my life… and in recent time have come to the conclusion that I will always have to work on it. I am aware of my feelings and really aware of what I eat. Thank you for the info and post.

    • Thank you.. I was so happy that Cindy wanted me to publish this article on my blog.. It really is important.. I hope all is well for you and you are able to successfully control your depression.. Its not easy but it can be done for the most part.. Much love

  7. Thank you for sharing this! Now I have other non-fattening alternatives to chocolate. :)

    • I was very happy to share this with you all.. Cindy wrote a great article and I was pleased to place it on my blog!! Much love

  8. Bertram Whistle

    Interesting post… although I agree a good diet helps fight depression and bipolar, the people of Iceland, for instance, have a good diet and yet have a high suicide rate too.

    • Hi there.. Well a good diet isn’t going to solve it all really. Everyone’s issues are different and it will only help by not adding to it really.. Good point though, certainly something to think about isn’t it… I wonder what drives the suicide rate in Iceland. Thank you for commenting and sharing your thoughts I appreciate it..

  9. Fighting depression by eating delicious food is not really hard, I think this is the easiest way to reduced the symptoms of depression, at the same time you enjoy what you are doing.

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