Depression is one of the most common mental disorders. Researchers have studied the relationship between food and the brain and identified several nutrients that may help manage depression and boost mood: calcium, chromium, iron, omega–3 fatty acids, vitamin B9 (folate), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B12 (cobalamine), vitamin D, and zinc.

These nutrients can be found in the foods featured in this article, which are widely available at grocery stores. For optimum results, it is recommended to combine a healthy diet, talk therapy, and regular exercise to improve your mood, increase energy, and reduce stress.


Walnuts with leaf.

Walnuts are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Those with depression tend to have low levels of this nutrient. Supplementing treatment with omega-3 sources can help improve mood.



Salmon, trout, and sardines are also excellent sources of the omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that women who have a higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids were less likely to feel symptoms of depression.


iStock_000003647440 Oyster-2

Oysters are one of the richest food sources of zinc. This essential mineral has been shown to have antidepressant effects and also makes up part of neurons. Zinc can also complement other treatments for depression well.

Brown Rice


Complex carbohydrates help encourage the production of serotonin – a mood-regulating neurotransmitter – by making more of the amino acids that compose it available. Oats and whole wheat pasta are other good sources of complex carbohydrates.

Low-fat Milk


The International Archives of Medicine found that women with symptoms of depression were often vitamin D deficient as well. Milk is a good source of vitamin D, as well as calcium, which helps improve mood, especially in cases of premenstrual depression.



Broccoli and collard greens are packed with vitamins B6 and B9. Vitamin B6 has been shown to help manage premenstrual depression in some women. Those with depression often have low levels of B9, as well. Broccoli is also a good source of chromium, which may help relieve atypical depression, a high-functioning form of the disorder.



Iron deficiency plays a role in conditions like depression, fatigue, and anemia. Legumes like lentils are rich in iron, which can help counter deficiency. Lentils are also rich in fiber and protein.

Studies have been conducted on the relationship between food and the brain, and show that certain nutrients may improve mood. These healthy foods listed above are not only rich in vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, but also have been thought to lessen depression and ease anxiety as part of a balanced diet. Mood is regulated by the brain, and a healthy cognitive system is vital to feeling happy and healthy. It is recommended to exercise regularly in order to improve your mood.

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