SOURCES: Bourne, E. The Anxiety & Phobia Work Book, Third
Edition, New Harbinger Publications, 2000. The Depression and Bipolar Support
Alliance web site.
There is no diet that is specific for depression. No studies have shown that
a particular eating plan can ease the symptoms of depression.
But your diet could possibly have an indirect effect on your mood. To stay
healthy and feel good, you need to be getting the right balance of nutrients,
vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and fiber.
Here are some eating tips for anyone recovering from depression.
Choose a moderate, sensible eating plan. Do the obvious.
Watch your calories and fat intake. Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and grains.
But you can allow yourself the occasional treat.
Stay away from extreme fad diets. Avoid diets that
radically restrict what you can eat. Cutting out entire food groups is a bad
idea, whether the foods being eliminated are carbs, fats, or sugars. While
extreme diets may help you lose weight at first, they're very hard to stick to
in the long run and are not generally healthy as an ongoing food plan. And
"failing" at a diet will just make you feel worse.
Get on an eating schedule. Eat at the same times each day
to keep your day predictable. It's best to eat three meals a day with two
snacks in-between. Don't skip meals.
Follow your doctor's advice. Of course, if you have a
health condition -- like diabetes or heart disease -- that requires dietary
restrictions, you should stick to them. Just make sure that you talk to your
health care provider and understand what you can and can't eat.
Avoid alcohol and drugs. Alcohol and many illicit drugs
can interact with antidepressants, affecting how well they work. Also, many
people who are depressed have problems with substance abuse. If you think you
have a problem, you need to get help. Addiction or abuse can prevent you from
fully recovering from your depression.
Cut back on caffeine. Since caffeine is a stimulant, it
can make you anxious and keep you up at night. So cut back on -- or eliminate
-- soda, coffee, tea, and chocolate.
Ask your health care provider about omega-3 fatty acids.
There is some evidence that omega-3 fatty acids -- a kind of fat found
naturally in some fish, walnuts, soybeans, flaxseed, and other foods, as well
as in supplements -- can help with mood. However, the evidence is not
conclusive. Ask your health care provider for advice.
Talk to your doctor about changes in your appetite.
Depression, or the treatment of depression, can sometimes cause a weight gain
or loss. If you've noticed a change in your appetite, your doctor can