Certain foods do not treat depression but a healthy diet rich in nutrients can be helpful as a part of an overall plan for treating depression, explains WebMD. Antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium and the right mix of protein and carbohydrates may ease depression symptoms.
Antioxidants can combat free radicals associated with aging and dysfunction, which may also contribute to depression, states WebMD. Foods that contain the antioxidants beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E can minimize the destructive power of free radicals. Beta-carotene-rich foods include apricots, peaches, pumpkin, carrots and collards. Foods rich in vitamin C include broccoli, citrus fruits, strawberries and potatoes. Wheat germ, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds are rich in vitamin E.
Complex carbohydrates may boost serotonin and have a calming effect on the brain, according to WebMD. Balancing complex carbohydrates with sufficient protein intake can result in additional alertness. Protein sources like chicken, turkey and tuna contain tyrosine, which may help the brain produce dopamine and norepinephrine and have an antidepressant effect. Omega-3 fatty acids that also play a vital role in staving off depression are found in fish, nuts and leafy greens. Taking vitamin D supplements and getting enough selenium may also ease depression. Food sources of selenium are beans, lean meat, dairy, nuts and fish.