11 Foods To Eat When You’re In Depression

Last Updated on Apr 4, 2024 by HappyDieter

During periods of emotional distress, maintaining a healthy diet can be a strong support system. Nutrition, from the foods you choose to a balanced diet, can significantly contribute to managing your emotional well-being. In this listicle, we’ll delve into foods to eat when you’re in adepression, which is not only tasty but also beneficial for those journeying through such challenging times.

Explore the benefits of consuming simple, whole foods such as dark chocolate andsalmon when you’re dealing with depression. These foods are known to have a positive effect on your mood. Learn about the mood-enhancing properties of berries, nuts, and foods rich in tryptophan. These are some of the foods to eat when you’re depressed that not only satisfy your taste buds but also contribute tomental health. Prepare to transform your diet with these mood-boosting choices.

Key Takeaways

  • Incorporate Foods Rich inOmega-3 Fatty Acids: Include sources like fish, nuts, and eggs in your diet to benefit from their mood-boosting properties.

  • Prioritize Whole Grain Foods: Opt for whole grain options like whole wheat bread or brown rice to help stabilize blood sugar levels and support overall well-being.

  • Embrace Healthy Fats: Integrate avocados, coconut, and fish into your meals for a dose of healthy fats that can positively impact your mental health.

  • Indulge in Dark Chocolate: Enjoy dark chocolate in moderation as a treat that can potentially improve mood and reduce stress levels.

  • Experiment with Fermented Foods: Try incorporating fermented foods like kimchi or yogurt to enhance gut health, which is linked to improved mental well-being.

  • Maintain a Balanced Diet: Remember that a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods is essential for supporting your mental health.

11 Foods To Eat When You're In Depression

1. Kale

Kale and other dark leafy greens have numerous health benefits. Kale is rich in vitamins and minerals, like magnesium. Magnesium is an essential mineral known for its antidepressant and anti-inflammatory properties. Magnesium helps to maintain levels of cortisol. Besides its high magnesium content, kale is also rich in B vitamins, and iron, which promote relaxation and happiness in your body.

Studies have found that eating kale daily can help to improve healthy blood flow, reduce sugar cravings, improve amino acid uptake, and stabilize blood pressure in the brain. It can also help you to lose weight and improve your general health. Other studies have shown that people who consumed kale regularly had improved iron absorption and decreased the risk of heart disease.

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Kale is a powerhouse vegetable that offers numerous benefits for individuals dealing with depression:

  • Antioxidants and Nutrients: Packed with antioxidants, kale helps combat oxidative stress in the body, which can contribute to symptoms of depression.

  • Folate Content: The presence of folate in kale plays a crucial role in serotonin production, a neurotransmitter linked to mood regulation.

  • Vitamin C Richness: High levels of vitamin C found in kale support brain health by aiding cognitive function and reducing the effects of stress on the brain.

11 Foods To Eat When You're In Depression
Vegan Nine Grain Whole Wheat Bread
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2. Whole grain foods

Whole grain foods are an excellent choice for improving mood and overall well-being:

  • They provide a steady release of energy throughout the day, preventing blood sugar spikes and crashes.

  • Complex carbohydrates in whole grains boost serotonin levels, enhancing feelings of happiness and relaxation.

  • High fiber content promotes gut health by nourishing beneficial bacteria, which can positively impact mental health.

Incorporating whole-grain foods into your diet can offer a range of benefits beyond just physical health. By making simple lifestyle changes like choosing whole grains over refined options, you can support both your body and mind. Research shows that diets rich in whole foods like whole grains are linked to reduced risk of depression and anxiety disorders. Making small adjustments to include more whole-grain options in your meals can contribute to an overall improvement in your mental well-being.

Golden Flax Seeds
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3. Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for brain function and emotional well-being. These essential nutrients are commonly found in fatty fish such as salmon and sardines, making them a staple in diets aimed at improving mental health.

Research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids may play a significant role in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. By incorporating these healthy fats into your meals, you could potentially enhance mood regulation and alleviate depressive symptoms.

Moreover, omega-3 fatty acids contribute to overall brain health by supporting neurotransmitter function. They aid in the production of serotonin, a key neurotransmitter involved in mood disorders like depression.

Incorporating foods rich in omega-3s can have profound effects on emotional health due to their ability to influence brain chemistry positively. By including sources of these essential nutrients in your diet, you may experience tangible benefits for both your mental and emotional well-being.

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4. Coconut

Did you know that coconuts can improve your mood? Coconuts have a powerful effect on depression. Coconuts are a vital component of Indian cuisine. However, moderation is the key to the benefits of using coconuts. Coconut milk is a rich source of healthy fat, but balance is key, so eat them in moderation. Eating too much coconut milk can lead to unhealthy weight gain and cause other health problems. Coconuts contain lauric acid which is antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial.

Fresh coconut is also packed with healthy fats that can improve your mood. Not only can coconuts boost your happiness, but they can also improve the health of your brain. Plus, studies have shown that coconut oil can help prevent colon and breast cancer.

Coconut is a beneficial food choice for individuals experiencing depression due to its unique properties:

  • Medium-chain Triglycerides (MCTs): These fats offer quick energy to the brain, potentially enhancing cognitive function and mood regulation.

  • Antioxidants: The presence of antioxidants in coconut supports overall brain health by combating oxidative stress, which is linked to mental health issues.

  • Blood Sugar Regulation: Consuming coconut can help stabilize blood sugar levels, preventing drastic fluctuations that may contribute to mood swings.

Including coconut in your diet can be a simple yet effective way to support your mental well-being. Whether enjoyed as part of a meal or snack, this versatile fruit provides essential nutrients that may aid in managing symptoms associated with depression.

Nuts !
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5. Nuts

Nuts are a powerhouse of nutrients, offering healthy fats, protein, and fiber that are beneficial for overall well-being. They contain magnesium, a mineral crucial for maintaining a balanced mood and supporting the nervous system. This makes nuts an excellent choice to incorporate into your diet when dealing with feelings of depression or anxiety.

The satisfying crunch of nuts can provide a sensory experience that goes beyond just taste. They make for convenient snacks that offer both satiety and nutrition in one package. Whether you enjoy almonds, walnuts, or cashews, each type of nut brings its unique blend of vitamins and minerals to the table.

The Essence of Egg
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6. Eggs

Eggs are a valuable addition to your diet when battling depression due to their numerous benefits:

  • Rich in Protein: Eggs are high in protein, which helps with energy levels and overall mood regulation.

  • Essential Amino Acids: They contain essential amino acids that aid in neurotransmitter synthesis, crucial for mental well-being.

  • Choline Content: Eggs are a good source of choline, supporting brain health by aiding memory and cognitive function.

  • Vitamins D and B: They provide essential nutrients like vitamin D, known as the “sunshine vitamin,” vital for combating low moods. Eggs offer a range of B vitamins important for energy metabolism.

Including eggs in your meals can contribute significantly to maintaining stable energy levels and supporting your brain’s functions during challenging times. Whether boiled, scrambled, or poached, eggs offer versatility in preparation methods while providing an array of nutrients beneficial for mental health support.

Remember that incorporating eggs into your diet should be part of a balanced approach alongside other nutrient-rich foods tailored to alleviate symptoms associated with depression.

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7. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, an antioxidant that has antidepressant properties. This antioxidant protects your brain and can boost your mood. The highest concentration of lycopene is in the tomato skin (about 3 times higher than in the inner tissue). You can eat them with a little olive oil, which significantly increases the bioavailability of lycopene. Tomatoes can also help you lose weight. Various studies have shown that people who ate tomatoes regularly lost significantly more weight than people who didn’t consume tomatoes at all.

Not only do tomatoes make a great ingredient in salads, they also provide many health benefits. Besides their antidepressant properties, tomatoes can also help to reduce heart disease, prevent strokes, and reduce the risk of blood clots.

Tomatoes are not just a tasty addition to your meals; they can also be beneficial for individuals dealing with depression. Here’s why:

  • Rich in Lycopene: Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant that has been linked to potentially reducing symptoms of depression.

  • Vitamin C Content: Loaded with vitamin C, tomatoes help support both the immune system and brain health, which can play a role in managing mood disorders.

  • Low-Calorie and Flavorful: Despite being low in calories, tomatoes pack a punch of flavor, making them a great ingredient to enhance various dishes without compromising on taste.

Photo by Claudio Brisighello

8. Fermented food

Fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi can be beneficial for mental health as they promote a healthy gut microbiome. This is crucial because the gut and brain are closely connected through what’s known as the gut-brain axis.

Consuming fermented foods introduces probiotics into the digestive system, which can positively impact mood regulation. Studies have shown that individuals with a balanced gut microbiome tend to have lower levels of anxiety and depression symptoms.

By incorporating fermented foods into your diet, you’re not only nourishing your body but also potentially alleviating some of the emotional distress associated with depression and anxiety. It’s a simple yet effective way to support both your physical and mental well-being.

Regularly including these items in your meals can lead to an overall enhancement in your mental and emotional well-being. So, when you’re dealing with depression and feeling down or anxious, consider incorporating some fermented foods into your diet. These are some of the foods to eat when you’re in a depression, and your mind might appreciate it!

Sushi-Sashimi Combo
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9. Fish

Fish is loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically the DHA type. Salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3s, which can help relieve depression symptoms. Other fish, like tuna and shrimp, also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can help people with anxiety and depression. As cell membranes are partly made up of omega-3 fats, so if levels in your diet are low, your brain cells can’t function properly. The recommended intake of DHA is 22o mg per day.

It is recommended to eat salmon and other oily fish at least 3 times per week. Oysters have aphrodisiac properties. They are loaded with zinc, iodine, and selenium, which support thyroid gland functions. They also have antidepressant properties and can improve your mood.

Fish is an excellent food choice for individuals experiencing depression due to its numerous benefits:

  • Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fish supports brain function and helps regulate mood.

  • High-quality protein and essential nutrients like vitamin D in fish can aid in overall well-being.

  • Regular consumption of fish may reduce the risk of developing depression.

Research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in mental health by helping with neurotransmitter production. These healthy fats are linked to improved heart function and reduced inflammation, which can positively impact mood disorders.

Adding fish to your diet a few times a week can make a significant contribution to your mental health. Whether it’s salmon, mackerel, or sardines, these are some of the foods to eat when you’re in depression. These varieties provide different levels of omega-3s that are beneficial for brain function and emotional stability.

Kona Avocado
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10. Avocados

Avocados are a fantastic choice when dealing with depression due to their nutrient-rich profile. They contain healthy fats that support brain function, aiding in cognitive processes and mood regulation. Avocados are packed with essential vitamins and minerals like folate and potassium, which play crucial roles in mental health.

The presence of folate in avocados is particularly beneficial as this B vitamin is known to help reduce symptoms of depression by regulating neurotransmitters in the brain. Potassium contributes to overall well-being by assisting nerve function and muscle control, indirectly impacting mood stability.

Consuming avocados can also promote feelings of satiety, preventing sudden spikes or drops in blood sugar levels that might affect mood swings. This fruit’s ability to keep you feeling full for longer periods can aid in maintaining stable energy levels throughout the day.

Adding avocados to your diet is not only beneficial for your physical health but also aids in mental wellness. This is one of the foods to eat when you’re in a depression, as its nutritional content is specifically geared towards fighting symptoms associated with this condition.

How do you take your Whittakers?
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11. Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is a delightful treat that can offer more than just a sweet taste. It contains flavonoids, which are known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, potentially aiding in reducing inflammation in the body.

Furthermore, dark chocolate can boost serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is often referred to as the “feel-good” neurotransmitter since it plays a key role in regulating mood and promoting feelings of well-being.

When consumed in moderation, dark chocolate can be a guilt-free indulgence for individuals dealing with depression. Its combination of rich flavor and potential mood-boosting effects makes it an appealing choice for those looking to lift their spirits naturally.

Incorporating this delightful treat into your list of foods to eat when you’re depressed could not only satisfy your sweet tooth but also have a positive effect on your mental health. It provides both pleasure and potential therapeutic advantages.


You’ve now discovered various foods to eat when you’re in depression that can help enhance your mood and bolster your mental health. From kale to dark chocolate, each item on this list brings unique benefits that can positively influence your emotional state. By integrating these foods into your diet, you’re doing more than just eating; you’re nourishing both your mind and body.

It’s time to take action. Start including these mood-boosting foods to eat when you’re in depression in your meals and notice the difference they make to your emotions. Remember, small changes can lead to significant improvements in your overall well-being. Your journey to a healthier mind starts with your food choices. Embrace these foods, enjoy their flavors, and let them positively affect your mood and mental health.


What role does kale play in improving mood?

Kale is rich in nutrients like folate, which can help regulate mood. Its high antioxidant content also aids in reducing inflammation, linked to depression. Incorporating kale into your diet can contribute to overall mental well-being.

How do omega-3 fatty acids benefit individuals struggling with depression?

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain health and have been shown to alleviate symptoms of depression by supporting neurotransmitter function. Foods like fish and nuts that are rich in omega-3s can help improve mood and cognitive function.

Why are avocados recommended for those dealing with depression?

Avocados contain healthy fats that support brain function and may help stabilize mood levels. The fruit is also a good source of vitamin B6, which plays a role in serotonin production, contributing to feelings of happiness and well-being.

Can dark chocolate help improve one’s mental state during depressive episodes?

Dark chocolate contains compounds that trigger the release of endorphins, chemicals associated with pleasure. Consuming moderate amounts can boost mood due to its ability to increase serotonin levels in the brain, promoting feelings of relaxation and happiness.

How can fermented foods positively impact the mental health of individuals experiencing depression?

Fermented foods like kimchi or yogurt contain probiotics that support gut health. Since the gut-brain connection influences mood regulation, consuming these foods may enhance serotonin production and reduce symptoms of anxiety or depression.