Natural antidepressants

How to treat depression with natural resources


A complete diet for depression

A complete diet will help improve depression.

Foods suitable for depression

Adequate nutrition for depression is one that provides all the nutrients needed to help combat the symptoms of depression or prevent this disease.

Proper foods can help restore some of the neurotransmitters that are responsible for establishing proper communication between nerve cells.

Low levels of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin or noradrenaline, have been shown to be related to depressive symptoms.

Obesity and depression

In case of obesity, a balanced diet to lose weight will help improve self-esteem thus improving the disease. In these diets the foods listed below may be enhanced.

On the contrary, performing unbalanced, very strict diets or fasting diets are not recommended as they would make us to become more nervous.

Main antidepressant foods

Among the most valuable antidepressant components of food, we can mention the following:

Antidepressant remedies

Some antidepressant foods


Vitamin C or ascorbic acid for depression

Vitamin C is involved in the formation of neurotransmitters and is necessary for the proper functioning of the body. It has proven to be very useful for depression, especially for bipolar depression. On the other hand, this vitamin may reduce levels of vanadium, a mineral that has been found guilty of bipolar depression.

Major foods that contain vitamin C include: citrus fruits (lemons, oranges, kumquats, limes and grapefruits), vegetables such as borage, carrots, garlic and onions; And red fruits such as strawberries, papayas, raspberries, etc.

oranges with vitamin C

Vitamin C helps the formation of neurotransmitters.

Vitamin B for depression

Folic acid (vitamin B9) is one of the best components to treat depression, as it increases the levels of serotonin. Foods rich in this component are: spinach, cashews, asparagus, oats, cabbage, peppers, oranges, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, apples, pears, almonds, potatoes, etc.

Recently, you can find products that can help you avoid a deficit. Other products like brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, some algae and fungi.

Although these foods do not contain the necessary amount, they may be especially recommended for the elderly, growing children.

* More information: Food rich in folic acid


Tryptophan for depression

sunflower seeds.Sunflower seeds are very rich in phenylalanine and other essential amino acids that help the nervous system to function properly.

Tryptophan is considered the best natural relaxant. It is the precursor of serotonin, a neurotransmitter. Some foods that contain this component are: garlic, onion, cashews, oats, cabbage, pumpkin, chestnuts, citrus in general, tomatoes, figs, mango, beans, and all legumes. Bananas are one of the richest fruits in tryptophan.

For non-vegetarians, this component is included in other foods, such as fish, chicken and turkey.

* More information: Foods rich in serotonin

You can also take tryptophan (5-HTP) supplements. It can be purchased at pharmacies or health stores. (The usual dose is about 100 to 400 mg daily. Take it as stated in the patient’s leaflet)

Phenylalanine for depression

Phenylalanine is another amino acid that helps against depression because it contributes to the production of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. This component is found in foods high in protein, such as milk or dairy products, eggs and legumes (lentils, chickpeas, beans, soy, tofu, tempeh, peas, etc.). Non-vegetarians can eat meat, fish, eggs.

Complex carbohydrates for depression

Carbohydrates can play a very important role in controlling depression. The ingestion of complex carbohydrates calms the brain and provides greater peace for the whole organism. Complex carbohydrates are especially useful for treating some moments of depression, such as autumn depression or depression caused by premenstrual syndrome.


Potatoes provide complex carbohydrates

The main foods that contain complex carbohydrates are whole grains (wheat, oats, rice, etc.) legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentils, soybeans, peas, etc.), quinoa, vegetables (potatoes, onions, spinach, carrots etc..) And fruits (apples, pears, peaches, plums, etc.)

The reason for the calming effects of complex carbohydrates on the nervous system is due to its nutritional properties and its richness in group B vitamins.

Many of these foods, such as legumes and cereals, also contain tryptophan.

People who follow very low carbohydrate diets often experience insomnia, anxiety, stress or nervousness due to the lack of these foods.

Omega 3 essential fatty acids for depression

Some studies have concluded that intake of omega-3-rich foods may be appropriate for the treatment of depression. Intake of these fatty acids can help maintain mental balance and prevent depression or to improve or help in the treatment of diseases such as schizophrenia, hyperactivity or imbalances such as inattention.

These essential fatty acids can be obtained from the following sources:

Blue fish: Contains two types of omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) – sometimes known as EPA – and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) -. Fish oil is the richest in omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 acid, called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), must be converted to the EPA or DHA by the body to be exploited. In this transformation, the body only converts 10% of ALA to EPA and DHA. For this reason, fish oil is considered a more direct and better source for ingestion of this principle.

Vegetable oils rich in omega 3

Most plant foods containing omega 3 are vegetable oils.

Vegetable foods containing a higher proportion are linseed oil (cold pressure) (533 mg per 100 g), followed by canola oil (111 mg) or walnuts (104 mg), chia seeds, flax seeds or hemp seeds.

Other vegetable oils that contain omega 3 are: virgin olive oil, wheat germ oil or hazelnut oil.

walnuts for the brain

Walnuts are very rich in omega 3, choline and vitamin E, essential nutrients for the brain.

The vegetables that contain omega 3 are:

Omega 3 supplements for depression

They is another way to add omega-3 fatty acids for people who do not take it from plant sources or do not eat enough fish. It can be taken as capsules containing fish oil, powder or linseed oil. (These products can be purchased at pharmacies or health food stores)


Other vitamins of the same group that have been considered very useful are pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and cobalamin (vitamin B12). In general, foods rich in B vitamins, such as cereals, are considered very important for the proper functioning of the nervous system.

Vitamin B12 for depression

Cobalamin (vitamin B12) is very important for the nervous system. Cobalamin can be obtained from the following sources:

Vegetable foods: Normally, a balanced vegetarian diet can provide the amount that is needed. Vegans or strict vegetarians (those who do not eat eggs or drink milk) should take cobalamin supplements. (Vegetarian people who do not eat enough animal foods should take supplements.)

* See: Vitamin B12 in vegetarians

Food of animal origin: Foods containing vitamin B12 are lean meat, eggs, milk and their derivatives. Carnivorous diets usually meet the daily doses of this vitamin.

One of the richest in vitamin B12 are clams. The liver, brain or cow’s kidneys are the richest food after clams (85 g of cow’s liver contains 68 micrograms of vitamin B12).

The same amount is found in chicken liver. Some fish, such as tuna or sardines, are rich enough.

* More information: Food rich in cobalamin

Vitamin B12 Supplements for Depression

Intake of vitamin B12 supplements may be necessary in special circumstances where a diet can not not meet individual needs. In this sense, a daily intake of 100 to 400 mcg is recommended. (You can find this supplement in pharmacies and health food stores.) Take it according to the terms of the package leaflet.

* See: How to supplement vitamin B12


Calcium for depression

Among the main minerals with antidepressant properties we have calcium. Foods rich in calcium are vegetables such as garlic, onions, cabbages, fruits such as chestnuts, walnuts, coconuts, figs, apples, mangoes, bananas, avocados, almonds, etc.

Other minerals with antidepressant properties would be magnesium, potassium, selenium and lithium. (See foods rich in magnesium, foods rich in potassium)



Garlic for depression

Garlic is very valuable for the treatment of depression. It is almost a compendium of all the major antidepressant components:

Garlic brings many substances that confer anti-depressant properties (ascorbic acid, magnesium, calcium, phenylalanine, tryptophan, potassium and selenium).

On the other hand, along with its ability to neutralize depression, its sedative components (caffeic acid, apigenin, geraniol, linalool and stigmasterol) will provide you with the reason why people who eat a lot of garlic generally feel very cheerful.

People who do not tolerate garlic can take onions, which are equally medicinal because they have the same principles.


turmeric for depression

All scientific studies conclude that turmeric is a natural antidepressant, and can be used in people with depression, seasonal depression or affective disorders.

Turmeric is a widely used spice in oriental cuisine. It is recommended for depression.

Capsaicin is the spicy component of chili or cayenne pepper. Ingestion of chilli (Capsicum frutescens), a type of hot pepper (Capsicum annuum) or cayenne pepper increases peoples’ morale because it stimulates the production of endorphins, which are commonly known as “hormones of happiness “.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is also very rich in this component, so the fresh ginger root can also be added to our meals or infusions.


Simple carbohydrates and depression

Refined sugar

Refined sugar is not recommended in case of depression.

Avoid foods that contain simple carbohydrates like sugar, excess honey or refined products. Although, at first, they can quell the anxiety of the brain, immediately afterwards, they incite the body to an uncontrollable desire to continue eating. (Craving for sweetness)

Therefore, they contribute to a very high consumption of empty calories, which usually consumed, can be responsible for the development of overweight or obesity.

Therefore, in the diet of depression, we must ignore the presence of foods containing this type of carbohydrates (refined sugars, sweets, cakes made with refined flour, sugary drinks, pasta made with refined flour, chocolate, pastries, Ice cream, etc.)

Coffee and depression

Some people say they feel better when they drink coffee. Other people feel more anxious after drinking drinks that contain caffeine such as coffee, tea, chocolate, or cola.

In general, specialists do not recommend drinking coffee or caffeinated beverages to people with depression because caffeine degrades serotonin that is necessary to maintain a personal state of confidence, well-being and balance.

When you are a good coffee drinker, you may also experience mild depression when you give up this habit. Similarly, the use of other stimulant drugs should be avoided.

Mate and depression

Although mate contains a lot of caffeine, many specialists recommend it for the treatment of depression because it contains other substances that are able to inhibit the enzyme that degrades serotonin.

Alcohol and depression

Alcohol is not suitable for people with depression. Alcohol interferes with medication for depression, is a major cause of insomnia and lowers blood glucose levels, making depressive people feel worse.

More information on depression in the listing above

Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

19 March, 2019

Other interesting articles

This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.
"Botanical" is not responsible for damages caused by self-medication.