Depression is twice as likely to affect women than men. For that reason, women need to be twice as prepared to fight the odds. Below are some foods that may not completely prevent depression, but should help lift your mood and help prevent, rather than encourage depression.
First, folic acid is essential to the production of neurotransmitters that send messages to different parts of the brain. People with low folic acid levels have low serotonin in the brain. Serotonin affects appetite, anger, aggression, mood, body temperature, sleep, metabolism, and sexuality.
Some studies have shown links to the connection of folic acid and depression and others have not. Be careful not to consume too much folic acid because it may hide signs of a B12 deficiency.
Foods with Folic Acid:
-Spinach and other green leafy vegetables
-Black Beans and other legumes
Secondly, omega-3 fatty acids are required for human health, but are not able to be manufactured by the body. These acids reduce inflammation and are concentrated in the brain. Without a sufficient amount of omega-3’s, a person is more at risk for depression.
Omega-3, which is an anti-inflammatory, competes with omega-6, which is an inflammatory. Excess omega-6 fatty acids are associated with heart attacks, strokes, arthritis, osteoporosis, and arrhythmia. While it is impossible to cut omega-6’s out completely, an optimal ratio would be 4 omega 6’s to every 1 omega 3, versus the average 10:1 or 20:1 ratios found in most Western diets.
Foods with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids:
-Grass-fed organic meats/ cheeses
-Fish Oils- Like those found in salmon, tuna and herring.
Foods with high levels of omega-6 fatty acids:
-Corn and other vegetable oils
-High fat meats (red meats) /cheeses
Lastly, stabilizing blood sugar is a significant cause of irritability and the dips and spikes in blood sugar levels that can cause anxiety, depression, fatigue, and headaches. Caffeine and refined sugar are detrimental.