Are there any antidepressant foods?
Depressed moods and manifest depression are a mass phenomenon in our modern society. It is no longer just single or even celebrities who get sick. A broad stratum of affected people can be found in all population groups. In Germany alone, according to solid estimates, 4 million people are suffering from depressive disorders and depression. That would be about 5% of our population. So we are talking about an epidemic that should receive appropriate attention. Against this background, the search of North American researchers for antidepressant foods, which could favorably influence the course and severity of depression, is of high scientific and social relevance. It would be a good chance to positively influence depression by boosting one's mood and perhaps even cure the disease.
Search for antidepressant foods through profiling
In their search for mood-enhancing foods, which they report in the World Journal of Psychiatry, the researchers used criminological methods. They adapted the operative profiling known from the field of criminology, in order to identify, based on qualitative and quantitative nutrient composition, certain foods that could be suitable for the prevention and positive influence of depression. In a first step, individual micronutrients were identified, for which a positive contribution to the prevention and treatment of depression had been proven in scientific studies. These total 12 micronutrients are: folic acid, iron, omega-3 fatty acids (EPA, DHA), magnesium, potassium, selenium, thiamine, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, and zinc. As the identified micronutrients are fairly ubiquitous in almost all foods, at least in trace amounts, in a second step, the most popular and common foods among Europeans and North Americans were those identified as having a high density of 12 "antidepressant micronutrients". Seafoods such as oysters, clams, fish (tuna, herring, salmon, trout and others), crabs and lobsters are among the foods of animal origin with high levels of antidepressant nutrients. It also includes liver and offal of pork, beef, sheep and goat. Steak, schnitzel and roast are not among the "anti-depressive foods". On the vegetable side are best suited leafy vegetables, lettuce, peppers, cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, kohlrabi, radish, radish and cress. Overall, the profiling of vegetable food showed on average significantly higher density of "antidepressant micronutrients" than in the animal. The best scorings of all the foods tested were watercress, spinach, lettuce, chard, mustard, rutabaga and beetroot. Less suitable for a special antidepressant diet are grains, dairy products, nuts and seeds. As far as the well-founded considerations of the researchers, however, remain the theory until studies with those affected can show that with antidepressive diets can actually improve the mood and the occurrence and course of depression can be favorably influenced.
Improve mood with antidepressant foods
Significant studies are already available for some of the foods identified by food profiling that give those affected hope for depression. So for fish and omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil. According to various studies with partly very different objectives, it can be concluded that changing the diet to a fish-rich diet or regular consumption of at least 1,5g fish oil per day can have a positive effect on the frequency and course of depressive episodes. Changing diet to a Mediterranean diet is also rewarded with a lower incidence of depression, according to observational nutritional studies. This study result can not be won over if the core elements of the Mediterranean cuisine are compared with the results of the antidepressant food profiling. The Mediterranean cuisine uses foods with a high antidepressant nutrient density and dispenses with those that contain only a few of these nutrients. On the positive side for mental health are fresh herbs and spices such as basil, coriander, parsley etc., citrus fruits such as lemon and grapefruit, fresh vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, peppers and many more, and of course fish, seafood and poultry. Less represented are the steaks and schnitzel, which are widespread in the western kitchen, which ultimately not only benefits the mental health, but is also beneficial for the heart and circulation.
At the end...
If you suffer from depressive moods and depression, it may be an opportunity to question your eating habits and to correct them if necessary. Certain foods and diets of the Mediterranean cuisine can be scientifically proven to promote mental health and affect depression favorable.
Source: LaChance LR, Ramsey D .; Antidepressant foods: An evidence-based nutrient profiling system for depression; World J psychiatry. 2018 Sep 20; 8 (3): 97 104.