Healthy eating and good nutrition are important for your physical and mental health. However, some people don’t feel like eating when they’re depressed and are at risk of becoming underweight, whilst others find comfort in food and are at risk of becoming overweight.1

Research has shown that symptoms of depression can improve when people eat a healthier diet compared with their usual one. There is no specific diet to treat depression, but experts suggest that eating a regular, well-balanced diet could help people suffering from depression.3

The hardest thing for me is healthy eating and when I’m depressed, sugar is my “go to”. So, when I’m well I remove “quick-fix sugar” items such as bars of chocolate but leave the tea and biscuits because making a cup of tea means I’m out of bed and doing something. I try to drink as much water as possible and keep microwave meals in the freezer that are quite healthy.~ Thomas*

  • Eat vegetables, fruits, and wholegrains such as wholemeal bread/pasta and brown rice
  • Cut down on processed/packaged foods3
  • Eat foods containing lean protein and “healthy fats”, including oily fish
  • Drink plenty of non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated liquids (e.g. water)3

In a depression, it is so tempting and easy to eat chocolates and sweets, but I looked for more healthy “easy to eat” foods, like fruit.~ Paul*

People with depression can be at risk of becoming overweight or underweight1
Your symptoms of depression may improve with a healthier diet2
Experts recommend regular diets include plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, and wholegrains, and lean proteins, including oily fish2,3

 

*Names changed.
 

References

  1. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5 ed. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press 2013.
  2. Jacka FN, O’Neil A, Opie R, et al. A randomised controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major depression (the ‘SMILES’ trial). BMC Med. 2017;15(1):23.
  3. Beyond Blue. Eating Well. Available from: www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/staying-well/eating-well.
    Accessed on: May 6, 2022.