What we put in our bodies can be helpful or harmful to our mental state. If you're struggling with depression, why not try to help yourself out nutritionally?

Sometimes, with depression, it's tough to get out of bed, let alone make it to work on time. Thoughts of self-doubt and sadness can threaten to overwhelm you, but you must hold on. 

Even though it's hard, muster the strength to take care of yourself. And apply some techniques that'll help you climb out of a dark hole.

There's exercise, talk therapy, and medication that all can help. 

But did you know that nutrition also plays a big part in your recovery? 

Here are some ways to feel better, with the help of a healthy diet. 

1. Vitamin D

You can get vitamin D from the sun, but some people still don't absorb it well. In particular, people who are fair-skinned tend not to absorb as much vitamin D.  

To up your vitamin D intake, take a supplement and eat foods such as fish, eggs, and beef liver. 

If you're not sure if you're deficient in vitamin D, ask to get some blood work done. It'll reveal where your vitamin D levels are and whether you should up your intake. 

Vitamin D on its own can't treat depression, but it may improve your mood. It's essential to note that although it can help, you may need other forms of treatment. 

2. Colorful Fruits and Vegetables

When it comes to fruits and veggies, bright and colorful produce is the way to go. 

Fruits and vegetables are full of nutrients you need, which will help you feel more like yourself. A few essential nutrients that fruits and vegetables have are beta-carotene and folate. 

Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant you can find in bright fruits and veggies. In particular, it's in brightly-colored orange, yellow, and red veggies. 

A few examples of fruits and vegetables that have beta-carotene are: 

Sweet Potatoes 
Folate (Vitamin B9)

Leafy greens have folate in them, which can combat depression and anxiety. Some experts believe that it's useful to take medication and have a diet high in folate. According to some, it makes medicine more effective.

That means you should be eating plenty of veggies! Load up your plate with kale, spinach, asparagus, and brussels sprouts. Vitamin B9 is also in peas, fruit, and fruit juices.

3. “Smart” Carbs 

Yes, there is such a thing as smart carbs. 

Complex carbs such as whole grains are better for your body as opposed to eating things like cookies. Consuming sweets like soda and candy bars are simple carbs and can harm your health. 

One smarter choice to make is looking for food that’s unsweetened. Instead of buying white bread, choose whole grain. You can find whole grains in all sorts of foods, such as brown rice, oatmeal, and pasta. 

Healthy eating carbs will give your body the energy it needs. Whereas if you eat sugar-laden foods, you’ll have a sugar crash. 

Why is this? 

Because your body isn’t getting the proper nutrients, you’re more likely to feel sad. Plus, you may also struggle with other symptoms, such as being overly tired.

4. Antioxidants 

Vitamins that have antioxidants may reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. We covered the antioxidant beta-carotene earlier on and how it can improve your mood. 

Besides beta-carotene, vitamin C and E can help you get the antioxidants your body needs. Work on increasing your intake, and your symptoms can decrease. 

There are many types of foods with antioxidants. A few are strawberries, blueberries, and even dark chocolate! 

Focus on eating plant-based foods, and your mental health can significantly improve.

5. Selenium-Rich Foods 

Is there enough selenium in your diet? 

Boost up your selenium by eating foods like nuts, pork, and fish. If you’re a fan of sushi, eat it more regularly! But, remember, you should opt for brown rice instead of white. 

Selenium is also present in other foods, such as ones that have whole grains. If you’ve had thyroid difficulties in the past, selenium can also improve a thyroid’s function. And it just so happens that your thyroid affects your mood. 

Of course, if you’re curious about your thyroid levels, ask to get your blood work done.

6. Omega-3 Fatty Acids 

Fish is a common theme in this article, and that’s because it’s packed full of nutrients! One of the main vitamins in fish is omega-3 fatty acids.

People who don’t have enough omega-3s are more likely to struggle with depression. That’s why it’s vital to make sure you’re getting enough of it! 

Besides depression, this vitamin also helps with other functions such as your muscles. 

You can take a supplement, but whenever possible, try to get your omega-3s through your diet.

7. Protein

Protein is another way to feel better because it can produce serotonin. When you’re feeling down in the dumps, your serotonin is low. And when it’s low, it’s easier to fall into a deeper depression. 

Eating more protein can produce more serotonin, which can improve your mood. Make sure you eat protein like tuna and chickpeas. 

Focusing on eating healthy foods like this can make a difference. 



Going through a trial in one's life, such as losing a loved one, can lead to depression. You may not feel like yourself for quite some time. Even so, making it your top priority to improve your nutrition can work wonders.

When you prepare your meals, consider whether you're getting enough vitamins. Pack your plate full of veggies and fruits that are bright and colorful. 

Your meals should consist of whole grains, protein, and selenium. And, we also covered some of the other vitamins and nutrients you should concentrate on having! 

A healthy diet combined with therapy and medication can significantly improve your mood. Don't give up — you've got this!

[Author bio]

Caitlin Sinclair is the Business Manager at The Rylan. With over five years of property management experience, she begins and ends each day loving what she does. She finds joy in helping current and future residents and makes The Rylan a place everyone loves to call home.