9 Tips To Ease Depression With Nutrition

January 2, 2020

This post is not to be interpreted as a “cure” for depression. Depression is a complex, multifactorial illness. Nutrition, however, may play a role in easing some of the symptoms. If you are experiencing depression, please be sure to seek the help of a qualified mental health professional. 1) EAT PROTEIN AT EACH MEAL Foods […]

why processes are important
5 benefits of seeing a therapist
Ketamine Q&A with dr. jeff ditzell
Now Trending:
I'm dr. d!

At my psychiatry practice in New York Cty, we're focused on giving you a 360 approach to mental health. It's time we  end the stigma on mental health.


Your Modern Day Mental Health Podcast

tell me more

Each week we'll explore all things Mental Health, Mindset, Fitness, and Psychiatry!

This post is not to be interpreted as a “cure” for depression. Depression is a complex, multifactorial illness. Nutrition, however, may play a role in easing some of the symptoms. If you are experiencing depression, please be sure to seek the help of a qualified mental health professional.


Foods like turkey, tuna, and chicken contain an amino acid called tryptophan, which helps produce serotonin (the feel-good chemical). Include protein at each meal to keep blood sugar levels steady, energy levels high, and hunger levels low. Good sources include poultry, fish, beans, grass-fed beef, and yogurt.


Dehydration can affect mental status and mood. Fluid needs can vary depending on age, activity level, disease status, and climate however a good rule of thumb is 0.5 oz per pound of body weight. Keep a water bottle on your desk or in your bag as a reminder to drink up!


Carbohydrates may increase serotonin (the happy neurotransmitter) in your brain. Choose foods rich in complex carbohydrates such as quinoa, wild rice, oatmeal, and whole-grain sprouted bread.  Limit sugary foods and beverages which can cause more cravings, crashes, and inflammation in the body.


Vitamin D receptors are located throughout your body, including your brain. Studies show a correlation between low vitamin D levels and depression. Increase safe sun exposure and include vitamin D-rich foods such as sardines, salmon, eggs, and cod liver oil.


The gut is responsible for delivering nutrients to all organs (including the brain) and for constraining harmful bacteria and molecules from the rest of the body. Poor gut health can lead to a “leaky gut” which can allow toxins to cross into the bloodstream and eventually into the brain. It can also cause inflammation throughout the entire body. Additionally, 90% of serotonin (the happy neurotransmitter) production occurs in the gut. To maintain a healthy gut microbiome, include probiotic-rich foods such as kefir, kombucha, organic sauerkraut, and kimchi.


Certain foods, additives, or chemicals can cause adverse physical and mental reactions. Pay attention to how different foods affect your mood, energy, and physical state. Common food sensitivities include dairy, gluten, caffeine, eggs, MSG, aspartame, sulfites, fructose, food colors, and sugar alcohols. Sensitivities usually result in bloating, diarrhea, headache, fatigue, runny nose, nausea, rashes, reflux, or flushing of the skin. If you frequently experience these symptoms and suspect you might be suffering from food sensitivities, sign up for a free discovery call to see how an MRT Food Sensitivity Test can help!

7) Choose Omega-3 Rich Foods

Studies show that people that don’t get enough omega-3, may have higher rates of depression. Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce anxiety and improve depression.  Include flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and wild-caught fatty fish like wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, and tuna. An omega-3 supplement may be beneficial for vegans and those that consume little or no fish.

8) Include Antioxidant-Rich Foods

Due to environmental factors and the byproduct of metabolism, our bodies accumulate molecules called “free radicals” which can cause cell damage, aging, and other problems. The brain is particularly at risk to free radicals. Antioxidants help “clean up” free radicals. To reduce the destructive effect of free radicals, include antioxidant-rich foods in your diet.

  • Fruits: Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, apples, prunes, sweet cherries, plums, black plums
  • Beans: Pinto, red kidney, dried small red
  • Fats: Walnuts, pecans, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, wheat germ, flax-seed, hemp seeds
  • Vegetables: Artichokes, kale, spinach, beets, broccoli, pumpkin, sweet potato, peppers, onions
  • Spices: Turmeric, ginger, oregano


Caffeine can trigger anxiety, dehydrate the body and interfere with sleep. Excessive caffeine intake can fatigue your adrenal glands and elevate the stress hormone cortisol. Adrenal fatigue is associated with other health problems such as high blood pressure, IBS, ulcers, acid reflux, and Crohn’s disease. Many people who are depressed also have problems with alcohol or drugs. Not only can they interfere with your mood, sleep, and motivation, they can also reduce the effectiveness of your depression medications. Work with a qualified health professional if you need help with alcohol or drug dependence.

9 Tips To Ease Depression With Nutrition

9 Tips To Ease Depression With Nutrition - Jeff Ditzell Psychiatry

+ show Comments

Dr. Jeff Ditzell, D.O. is the lead psychiatrist at Dr. Ditzell Psychiatry with over 25 years experience treating people for Anxiety, Depression, OCD, PTSD, Adult ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, using ketamine treatments, psychotherapy, and so much more.

- Hide Comments

add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Positive Daily Texts

You know what they say “self-care” is the best care. Why not kick off your morning the right way by signing up to receive our positive text messages reminding you to be mindful and encouraging you to conquer the day!


free daily texts

©jeff ditzell psychiatry 

site designed by Twinning Pros

terms & conditions | privacy policy

check out our nyc office >




follow along 
on Instagram:

We are a mental health practice in the heart of New York City that is here to listen and help you overcome your fears. We have 30 years of experience and many awards for psychiatry, therapy, and mental health coaching.