The Impact of Nutrition on Depression

Depression is a common mental health problem. In 2002, World Health Organization considered depression the fourth most common cause of disability in society. Dietary factors have an important role in depression. On the other hand, those who suffer from depression often have poor nutrition and are at risk in that sense. When someone is depressed, his energy level, enthusiasm, and appetite is less than usual for variety of activities including eating and as a result he will not get necessary nutrition for daily activities. Unintended weight loss or gain and insufficient absorption of vitamins and minerals are often associated with depression. Those most at risk are elderly people who live alone. Though a small subset of patients with depression might experience increased appetite, thus called atypical depression disorder.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Lack of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet can increase symptoms in people prone to depression. Foods rich in omega-r fatty acids include seafood, especially fatty fish fatty acid, omega-3 enriched eggs, canola oil, flaxseed oil, walnuts, soybeans and green leafy vegetables. Accordingly, it is generally recommended that adults consume fish at least twice a week.

Folic acid

Folic acid blood levels are low in people with depression. Mushrooms and green leafy vegetables, especially spinach and broccoli, lean beef, potatoes, whole wheat bread, orange juice, and beans are great sources of folic acid.

Vitamin B12

Adequate vitamin B12 in the blood of depressed patients, causes a better response to remedy. Food sources of vitamin B12 include: milk, fish, eggs, fish, and meat.


This element plays an important role in the functioning of the nervous system. Balance of this element in the body is effective in the prevention and treatment of depression. Meat, poultry, fish, milk, and dairy products, liver, whole grains, beans, and nuts are sources of zinc.


Iron deficiency can cause impatience and iron supplementation improves the mood. This nutrient can be found mostly in the liver and then in seafood, kidney, heart, lean meat, poultry, egg yolk, dried fruits, whole grains, and fortified breads there. Iron that is found in plant sources like beans and some green vegetables can be absorbed in lesser extends.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is effective in the treatment and prevention of depression. This vitamin is widely available in meat, whole grains, especially wheat, vegetables and nuts. In some studies reduced level of vitamin B6 was believed to be an etiology of seizure.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E due to its high antioxidant effects, can be effective in the treatment and prevention of depression. Since this vitamin is synthesized by plants, vegetable oils are the best sources. The amount of vitamin E in sunflower oil, canola, corn, olives and nuts, especially almonds are high. It should be noted that this vitamin is destroyed by frying at high temperatures.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C concentration in the brain is high and appears to be involved in the regulation of neuronal activity. It also has antioxidant properties. Vegetables and fruits, especially citrus fruits are the best source. Vitamin C is very sensitive and some of it is lost during cooking. Even in the refrigerator after 24 hours, a reduction of 45 % in levels of vitamin C is observed.


Selenium deficiency can be associated with depression. Seafood, kidney, liver, red meat and poultry are the main sources of this vital mineral.