foods fight depression

Science-backed Foods that Overcome Depression

by op-ed contributor

Your brain and gut are strongly intertwined. What you eat determines how you will function.

Depression is the leading cause of disability and has affected over 267 million people worldwide including Nigeria. It is becoming more common at an alarming rate. The foods you eat can help you minimize and fight the effects of depression. In addition, nutrition can be used to treat mental illnesses and drugs.

In this article, I’ve compiled a list of the top 5 therapeutic foods that overcome depression.

5 Science-backed Foods that Overcome depression

According to PubMed, the Mediterranean diet is linked to a lower risk of depression when compared to western-style dishes. Below are foods that overcome depression:

  1. Whole Grain

whole grain

Whole grains help to regulate serotonin content in the body

When you have an episode of depression, you are most likely to eat unhealthy stuff. When you’re feeling bitter and hopeless, you have no choice but to eat refined carbohydrates such as doughnuts, cheese, pizza or potato chips. The satisfaction and delight these meals provide are far more appealing.

These processed foods, however, are unable to provide your body with sufficient quantities of vitamins, antioxidants and fibre. Whole grains help to regulate serotonin content in the body. According to the study, whole grains are also high in tryptophan, which aids in the release of serotonin. This is a key hormone affectionately known as “the feel-good hormone.” Serotonin is found to help with happiness levels and mood stabilization.

Rice is an everyday meal for many Nigerians but you can try out the others ones such as, maize, wheat and oats.

Importantly, you need to avoid high carbohydrates food that can aggravate and cause depression. Brown rice, millets, buckwheat, and oats are rich sources of whole grains that can help you overcome depression.

  1. Berries


Sweet berries lessen and prevent anxiety

Berries are rich in nutrients and include various elements that promote mental and physical health. They are little, rounded fruits that come in a range of hues. Whether the fruit is sweet or sour, what is important is that it will balance the neurotransmitters in your brain. Furthermore, blueberries are delicious and contain a significant number of antioxidants.

Antioxidants facilitate communication between neurons or brain cells, leading to accurate information transfer inside the cells. Additionally crucial for avoiding depression and inflammation are these antioxidants.  

It has also been demonstrated that eating sweet berries might lessen and prevent anxiety. This is because when you’re anxious, your brain naturally craves sugar, so you might choose foods high in sugar.  Blueberries and strawberries do not grow in Nigeria but are imported. You can buy them at stores or local markets.

Berries are high in fibre and vitamin C and, on the other hand, low in calories. This allows your brain to function at its best in place of sweet meals, which in turn helps you overcome depression.

Read Also: Top 10 Bodybuilding Foods in Nigeria

  1. Green Tea

green tea

Green tea can improve mental health and the brain

For improved mood and lessened mental instability, tea is essential. Drinking tea can improve mental health and the brain. Tea has an impact on both mood and intelligence.

Tea reduces cortisol, a stress hormone, symbolically reducing the risk of depression and throbbing during panic episodes. In addition, it has been demonstrated to lower anxiety by calming and relaxing you. But the impact of green tea is assumed to be due to the presence of antioxidants like epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and an amino acid called theanine.  

Unexpectedly, theanine increases the creation of feel-good neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine. By boosting neuronal activity and enabling the mind to stay awake, the caffeine in this tea has specifically been proved to improve mood and cognitive abilities that can help you fight depression.

Do you want to know other means to conquer depression? Follow us on Twitter for mental health tips.

  1. Dark Chocolate

dark chocolate

Dark chocolate can elevate your mood

Although essential nutrients are required for nutritional health, chocolate has many therapeutic effects. Therefore, the recommendation to avoid sugary diets does not apply to chocolate. Chocolates generally include fantastic, super cool nutrients that support brain function. On the other hand, dark chocolate performs better than milk chocolate in terms of suitability.  

Dark chocolate contains phenylethylamine, flavanols, and acylethanolamines, which are responsible for elevating mood, lowering anxiety, and raising dopamine and serotonin levels in the body. More importantly, the presence of psychotropic substances that are related to those in cannabis promotes the preservation of both physical and mental health. For example, when endorphins are present when dark chocolate is consumed, the body is improved by reducing stress.

They are bursting with nutrients that support health and reduce inflammation. Additionally, you may counter its positive effects if chocolate is ingested excessively. Dark chocolate contains more cocoa than milk chocolate, which is how they differ. Consuming more dark chocolate with greater cocoa content can help you overcome depression. We recommend that you eat dark chocolates from brands like Snickers, Dairy Milk, and M & M. The Nutella Chocolate spread is a good bet.


Read Also: The Relevance of Nutrition to Mental Health

  1. Bananas


Banana can treat mood swings and overcome depression

Bananas are not only flavorful but also a depression diet that is also beneficial to your mood. Bananas are rich in vitamins B, C, magnesium, and potassium, which are good for maintaining a healthy body and mind.  

When you’re nervous, your body produces less potassium. Potassium is therefore necessary, as it both fights depression and replenishes potassium that has been lost. Vitamin B6, a subset of the B vitamins, is also present in bananas.  

Bananas’ tryptophan is converted to serotonin by this group of vitamins, which is entirely responsible for improving a depressed mood. However, consuming one banana does not equate to consuming several; a constant supply of bananas is necessary.  

It’s a fantastic antioxidant high in fibre and used to treat mood disorders, overcome depression and anxiety, and sleep issues. Incorporating bananas into your daily routine is another way to overcome depression faster. 


Food affects how you feel! Therefore, you should watch what you eat if you have mental instability, depression, or anxiety. By causing the release of hormones that enhance happiness and psychological healing, it aids in the reduction of symptoms. All these depression diets mentioned above can help you fight depression if you can incorporate them into your everyday meal.

Be aware that eating these foods won’t cause you to change overnight; instead, take each step slowly. Eating more foods high in antioxidants helps overcome depression and, in turn, improves your health.

Avoiding food that causes depression, such as refined foods, processed meat, and alcohol, is also expedient.

The most important part of your healing process is incorporating strategies to support, stabilize and help you overcome depression. So, how will you work these meals into your regular schedule? Which one do you prefer?

Post your comments about this in the space below!

You can also send us a message on Whatsapp to discuss issues on mental. We would love starting a conversation with you.

About the Author

Damola Adetoro is a mental health advocate, willing and passionate to be a voice for teenagers and young adults suffering from mental health conditions. I choose the path of writing because it is a means to reach out and be an impact where my voice cannot get to.

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Op-Ed are articles published by guest authors. We no longer accept guest posts. However, we are still open to adding long-term content contributors to our team of insightful writers. To write for us, please check out

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