When times are tough, it's natural to seek comfort wherever you can find it. Although comfort eating may elicit a short-term sense of satisfaction, it can ultimately lead to the opposite effect. There's no direct cause and effect relationship between your diet and your depression, aside from the effects that a known depressant (such as alcohol) can have on your central nervous system. It's not a case of eating your way to better mental health, but there are some foods that may help to tackle depression. 

You'll Need a Plan

If you're looking to see how dietary changes may improve your mental health, you'll need a plan. It can be beneficial to consult a nutritionist to have a specific meal plan formulated. This accounts for your personal preferences, while also accommodating any existing dietary restrictions you might have—not to mention avoiding burdening you with a range of meal ideas beyond your culinary abilities. What is a nutritionist likely to suggest?

Oxidative Stress

A diet plan designed to alleviate depression will be rich in antioxidants. This helps to minimize the effects of free radicals in your system. Free radicals are molecules with an odd number of electrons. Most oxygen-containing molecules in the human body have an even number of electrons. However, the odd number of electrons in a free radical allows these molecules to freely interact with unrelated molecules, causing a chemical reaction called oxidative stress. This is known to contribute to depression. Free radicals cannot be entirely eliminated, but their impact can be reduced when the host consumes a diet rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants exist in vitamins such as vitamin C and E, as well as dietary selenium. Additionally, antioxidants can be found in many plants as naturally-occurring phytochemicals

What Happens Next

To use diet as a tool to combat depression, you should ask a nutritionist to formulate a specific meal plan (three meals per day, with approved snacks). It will be suggested that you follow this meal plan for a predetermined period of time, after which you and your nutritionist can meet again to assess your results. This is a more targeted approach than merely introducing antioxidant-rich foods into your diet without consideration of quantity or frequency. 

The meal plan determined by your nutritionist should not replace any other care you might be receiving, such as therapy and antidepressants. Remember that it's one of many tools that can be used to tackle your depression, as opposed to being a method used in isolation.

For more information, contact a professional like Eating In Moderation LLC.