Depression is difficult for anyone who lives with it. It can sap your motivation to care for yourself, eat well, and exercise, and your ability to cope with stress.  Although the foods you eat cannot treat depression, your diet does have significant effects on your mood.

Eat plenty of “good” carbohydrates

No processed foods, deep-fried food and cut out “white” carbs (white rice, white bread, white flour, etc.) in favor of less processed foods like whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat bread, and whole grain cereals), fruits and veggies. If depression causes a poor appetite, make sure the food you do eat contains as many nutrients as possible.

Cut back on caffeine

Caffeine acts as a stimulant, making you feel anxious and interfering with sleep patterns. Consume no more than 200- 300 milligrams of caffeine daily.

Avoid alcohol and drug

Alcohol and illicit drugs can interact with antidepressant medications and other over-the-counter medications. For many, depression and substance abuse are already closely connected. If you think you have a problem, seek help. Addictive or abusive behaviors can prevent you from a full recovery.

Structure your meals

Eat at approximately the same times each day and don’t skip meals. Enjoy three well-balanced meals and plan snacks between meals. This will help ensure that your body is getting the right nutrients throughout the course of the day.

Eat quality nutrients

Dieting itself is a stress on the body. Individuals who are trying to lose weight and have a history of depression must work to eat foods that are good for the body and the brain. Try incorporating more whole foods, fruits and veggies, and healthy fats by starting with this list of superfoods.

Eat more oily fish

Essential fatty acids, in particular, the omega 3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) found in oily fish, cod liver oil, and eggs, can help.  The natural way to treat depression says diets low in EPA essentially starve the brain and weaken the phospholipid layer of the brain cells, which in turn inhibits the activity of feel-good neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine.

Keep a healthy weight

Every person with depression is affected differently. Some will eat too much and some too little. This can cause weight loss or weight gain. Both of these can have a negative effect on mood. Try to keep a healthy weight because this is one of the first steps to improving your overall health.

Can’t concentrate? Trouble keeping your eyes open? Skip the coffee and have a spinach salad instead. Impaired blood flow may leave you feeling sluggish or slow to process or recall information. The best way to get a boost? Eat folate-rich foods like spinach and other leafy green vegetables as well as potatoes, fortified breads and cereals, beans, peas, and mushrooms.