Depression Relief Diet
Sue Gilbert, M.S.

If it sometimes seems that food is the only thing that will make you feel better, it's not just in your head. Food does affect your mood, and what you eat -- and when -- can impact depression. If you're trying to beat the blues, here's how the Depression Relief Diet can help:
• Sugar and caffeine give you a quick lift -- but can leave you feeling down when their effects wear off. This meal plan reduces sugar and caffeine intake because feelings of depression often improve when their consumption is minimized.
• Because deficient levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the nervous system make you more vulnerable to depression, this meal plan includes plenty of fish and other rich sources of omega-3s.
• Even marginal vitamin deficiencies that don't result in clinical symptoms can negatively affect your mood. This diet, when paired with a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement, will help ensure adequate intake of essential vitamins and minerals (especially the B vitamins and folic acid, vitamin D, iron, magnesium, selenium, zinc and calcium).
• Steady blood sugar levels help keep you on an even keel. This meal plan includes complex carbohydrates in every meal and encourages eating small meals spaced evenly throughout the day to help normalize blood sugar levels.

Healthy Dos and Don'ts
Here are a few eating tips to keep in mind when you're dealing with depression.

Do:
• Take a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement
• Get regular, vigorous exercise daily
• Drink plenty of water or other fluids like herbal tea
• Eat more fish

Don't:
• Consume caffeine
• Drink alcohol
• Load up on simple sugars and simple carbohydrates