This is a synopsis of an article published in Dr. Oz The Good Life.     

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” ~Hippocrates

Food is life; it's preventative, it's healing, it's medicine. If you're struggling with depression or feeling lethargic, give these five super-foods a try: 

Salmon

Dr. Taz Bhatia, MD, an integrative health expert at Atlanta Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine says: "A major nutritional deficiency of people with depression is in omega 3 fats, which help decrease inflammation and improve mood regulation." 

A May 2014 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who ate fish two or more times per week had a 25% less risk of developing depression than those who did not incorporate fish in their diet. Researchers report that Omega-3s change the composition of cell membranes and the functions of their proteins. 

Here are some easy and healthy salmon recipes.  

Chickpeas

The biggest micronutrient deficiency in depression are B vitamins, specifically B-6. B vitamins help metabolize and breakdown our neurotransmitters including serotonin and dopamine, responsible for our mood regulation. Adding chickpeas to your daily diet will help boost serotonin, keeping your mood balanced.

Eat chickpeas whole, or try some of these traditional and creative hummus recipes!

Whole Grains

Although pasta and rice may taste good in the moment, we just strapped ourselves in for a blood sugar roller coaster ride. Refined grains cause our blood sugar to fluctuate quickly (high highs and low lows) resulting in lower brain glucose, which triggers hormones like adrenaline and cortisol to take over, raising our chances of mood disturbances and depression. Whole grains such as oats, buckwheat and quinoa are high in fiber with a slower digestion rate. They've been shown to help regulate mood and lower your risk of depression. 

Here are some clever ways to use quinoa.  

Tomatoes

Tomatoes contain the superman of antioxidants, lycopene, which has been long known to prevent heart disease and stroke, but now, studies have found that lycopene prevents depression, too! Although it remains unknown exactly how it inhibits depression, it appears to be correlated indirectly, affected by lycopene's overall health benefits. Include tomatoes in your diet at least 4 times a week to protect your wellbeing.

Who says tomatoes can't be the lettuce of your salad

Nuts & Seeds

Nuts are the superhero of the food world -- tiny but mighty. Nuts and seeds are high in protein and amino acids (such as omega-3s and tryptophan, a brain soothing acid that reduces depression significantly). The best sources are almonds, cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.

Here's the best trail mix you'll ever snack on! 

Read the full article here

Primary Care & Hospitalist