Depression affects nearly 19 million people across the United States. While a number of factors contribute to depression, many people fail to consider daily nutrition. What we put in our mouths plays a big role in mood as well as mental focus and energy levels. According to experts, some foods that reduce depression include garbanzo beans, turkey, and yogurt. Each of these nutritional foods contains mood-enhancing properties and a few extra health benefits, making them must-haves for the shopping cart.
According to a 2004 study published in "Human Psychopharmacology," people with depression show high levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that can hinder recovery and endanger the heart. Folic acid helps keep homocysteine levels in check, and garbanzo beans make a rich source of this valuable nutrient. Studies also show that folic acid may enhance the effectiveness of prescribed antidepressants, but people should consult with their doctor before using folic acid supplements. Garbanzo beans also provide a rich source of fiber for better digestive health.
People looking for natural remedies for depression should consider foods rich in protein, particularly turkey. Many lean sources of protein provide amino acids that help improve mood as well as support the immune system, repair body tissues, and boost energy. Turkey goes one step further with high levels of tryptophan, a chemical that stimulates the production of serotonin, a mood-enhancing and sleep-promoting neurotransmitter in the brain. This might explain why people feel so drowsy and content following Thanksgiving dinner. Other dietary sources of tryptophan include cottage cheese, milk, brown rice, peanuts, beef, and soy products.
Related: Ways to Lower Risk of Depression
Low-fat dairy products like yogurt contain calcium, vitamin D, and protein as well as specific peptides that support wellbeing. In addition to these healthy ingredients, yogurt offers a rich source of probiotics ─ microorganisms that help maintain a healthy bacterial balance in the intestines. Some depressed people have an overgrowth of 'bad' intestinal bacteria, which can cause problems with the absorption of micronutrients. These compounds are directly involved in the production of the feel-good neurotransmitter, serotonin. To get the most health benefits, people should purchase plain Greek yogurt and sweeten it with fresh fruit or lemon juice and stevia.
In light of all their healthy properties, it makes sense to add these three foods that reduce depression to a dietary plan. People who don't like the texture of garbanzo beans might try a smooth and creamy hummus spread with fresh veggies, crackers, or chips. Natural turkey lunch meat makes a good alternative to a big roasted bird, and probiotic supplements make a good replacement for plain yogurt.