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The Role of Food in Anxiety and Depression

The Role of Food in Anxiety and Depression

Did you know that the food you eat can have an impact on your mood?

Just as a car needs gasoline to run; our bodies need fuel to function. It is important to put the right fuel in the body for it to function at its best. A balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, beans/lentils, nuts/seeds can have a positive impact on your mental health.

Focus on the following nutrients, along with a healthy diet:

Complex carbohydrates: metabolized slower, help to maintain more even blood sugar levels, create a calmer feeling
(examples: beans/legumes, whole grains, vegetables)

Magnesium: foods that are rich in magnesium can help a person feel more calm
(examples: leafy greens, nuts/seeds, legumes, whole grains)

Zinc: foods that are rich in zinc have been linked to helping lower anxiety
(examples: liver, beef, oysters, cashews, egg yolks)

Omega 3 Fatty Acids: important for brain health
(examples: salmon, tuna, flaxseed, walnuts)

Vitamin D: important for brain function and insufficient levels may increase risk of depression or other mental illnesses
(examples: salmon, other fatty fish, fortified cereal, orange juice, milk)

Vitamin B12: along with other B vitamins it an affect mood and other brain functions since they play a part in making brain chemicals
(examples: lean meat including fish and poultry, eggs, dairy products)

Nutrition Tips:

  • It is recommended not to skip meals as this can cause a drop in blood sugar levels leaving you feeling jittery, which could worsen anxiety.
  • Limit sugar intake as this can help improve anxiety and depression symptoms.
  • If not getting a balanced diet, multivitamins and nutrition supplements can be an option to get the nutrients you need.
  • Medication and behavior therapy may also be needed in treating anxiety and depression.

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