7 Foods to Help Fight Depression

There’s no magic cure to stop depression. It takes a lot of work. Having a solid treatment plan is the best way to combat it. But there are other things you can do on your own to help your mood and keep depression at bay… that includes what you eat. We all know we should be eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains while cutting down on processed food. But sometimes that feels like an unrealistic goal. Instead, just try to incorporate a few of these 7 foods that will improve your mood and fight depression.

1. Carbohydrates and Whole Grains

pablo.pngWhen looking for foods to help fight depression definitely consider whole grains. These high-fiber “smart carbs” are great for a quick mood boost. Complex carbohydrates release seratonin, making you feel happier. Try to avoid simple carbs and sugary foods. Instead turn to whole grains, brown rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and whole wheat pasta. They can really help with stress.

2. Low-Fat Dairypablo(1)

Dairy is great for your body for a variety of reasons, but low-fat dairy is the richest source of two important nutrients: calcium and vitamin D. In addition, dairy has specific proteins called peptides that help relax you and give you a sense well-being. Try skim milk, yogurt and low-fat cheeses.

3. Turkey

vegetables-glass-meal.jpgYou may associate tryptophan with feeling tired after eating a Thanksgiving meal, but it turns out the chemical in turkey also has big health benefits. Tryptophan stimulates seratonin production, giving you a natural happy feeling. Keep in mind most lean proteins are good for fighting depression, but turkey is the best option thanks to tryptophan. You might just want to take a nap after eating it!

4. Fatty Fish Like Salmon and Tuna
salmon-seafood-fish-restaurant-cuisine-gourmetIf you guessed omega-3 fatty acids for the reason why salmon and tuna are on the list, than you’re right. The fatty acids found in the fish have brain-boosting properties to help fight depression, according to research published in January 2014 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Fatty fish is also good for overall health, they improve circulation and reduce inflammation in the body. It’s not just salmon and tuna that have these properties. Also try mackerel or bluefish! A serving a few times a week could do great things for your mental health!
5. Green Tea
green-tea-press-flowers-kitchen-drink-beverage.jpgGreen tea is a great source of antioxidants, but it’s also a great beverage for fighting depression. The amino acid known as theanine is naturally found in tea leaves and provides a natural anti-stress benefit. So if you’re a coffee drinker (like I am) try switching to cup of green tea every once in awhile to absorb some of its relaxing benefits.
6. Walnutswalnuts-nuts-peeled-baking
If you’re not a fish fan, or want another way to get those omega-3s, try walnuts. While most nuts are a great source of protein and healthy fats, walnuts are the best for fighting depression because they are one of the richest plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
7. Dark Chocolate
close-up-of-dark-chocolate-pieces-and-cocoaCan’t forget about desert! While most people would say they feel happier after eating chocolate, it turns out that chemically that might actually be true. Dark chocolate helps release seratonin and relaxes the blood vessels of the cardiovascular system. So in addition to tasting amazing, also know it really can make you feel better! It’s a good excuse for the next time you indulge.
There are a lot of great foods to help improve your mood or fight depression, but if you’re really struggling, just don’t leave it up to your diet. Talk to your doctor and counselor about the best treatment plan for your condition, but that does generally include making sure you’re taking care of your body. So try these foods they could make a big difference!

Habanero Turkey Chili

turkey chiliIt’s getting a little chilly outside now… so what sounds better than chili??? It’s simple, quick and easy to make… and with basically one pot used, it’s an easy clean up. Don’t be afraid of the habanero. If you use one, it doesn’t actually make the chili that hot, but it adds a lot of great flavor.

Admittedly, for a long time making chili to me was using one of those McCormick packets you can buy at the grocery store. But really it’s just as easy to make on your own… and adapt adding any flavors you like!

1 lb lean ground turkey
1 can black beans
1 16 oz can tomato sauce
2 heaping tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons chili powder
1-2 habanero peppers
1/4 yellow onion (chopped)
garlic powder
1 cup beef stock

Take a large pot, add a little olive oil and heat. Add the onions and cook until they begin to caramelize. Add the ground turkey. Season with salt & pepper. Cook until browned. Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Pour out 1/3 of the liquid in the black beans and add them to the pot. Add the chili powder & habanero (add 1 if you like your chili a little more mild, 2 if you want a little more heat). (add some chipotle powder if you want a smokey taste). Add salt, pepper and garlic to taste. Simmer for at least an hour.

The biggest thing I learned is to continue to taste and adjust. A lot of the measurements are approximations, so just keep tasting.

Butternut Squash Corn Cakes w/ Turkey Bacon, Spinach & Sunny Side Up Eggs

eggs & butternut squash corn cakeI love breakfast, I love a runny egg and I love eggs benedict. I wanted to find a way to make recipe that was as satisfying, but offered something a little different. It combines eggs, spinach turkey bacon The cakes have jalapenos in them, so it has a little heat. Although if you don’t like jalapenos, just take them out. And if you’re not a fan of runny eggs… just make a fried egg and put it on top. (if you’re a Hollandaise fan, I apologize I left it out this time to make it a little healthier.) The corn cakes are really griddle cakes, and are not fluffy like a pancake. But they’re very satisfying… just know that that intention is for the cake to be more dense. It definitely makes it a heartier dish.

A couple things to note before we begin the recipe. First, The recipe will make about 3 corn cakes. the calorie count and recipe only accounts for two. Just like pancakes… you always want to leave a little extra batter in case the first one doesn’t come out. Second, you won’t need a TON of butternut squash. Unless you plan on eating a lot of butternut squash in your future, I suggest buying frozen or already chopped butternut squash. To have to break down an entire butternut squash and cook it just for these corn cakes seems excessive… but hey if you’re up for the challenge… go for it!

Calories: 360

What you need:

1/4 cup cornmeal

1 cup butternut squash cubes (cooked… at least to the point where a fork can easily poke though the cubes.

3 tablespoons skim milk

1 tablespoon egg whites

1 tablespoon chopped jalapenos

1/4 teaspoon salt (extra salt for seasoning)

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

2 slices of turkey bacon

2 cups spinach leaves

Dash of chili powder

Ground Pepper

Here we go. In a bowl add the salt, baking powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cornmeal. Mix together well. In a separate bowl, mash the butternut squash to the best of your ability. Add the milk and egg whites. Mix together. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture. stir until smooth. (will be a little gritty looking because of the cornmeal.) fold in the jalapenos. Heat up a skillet sprayed with olive oil or cooking spray. make two medium-sized cakes (You should have leftover batter. This is just as a buffer. Feel free to use how you please. But you should have just enough batter to make three.) Cook over medium heat until the bottom is brown. Flip until the other side is brown and cakes are done. remove from heat.

In a separate pan, throw the spinach in a pan along with salt, pepper and a tablespoon of water. Cook until water has burned off and the spinach is cooked/slightly wilted. Remove from heat.eggs and corn cakes 2

Spray another pan with non-stick spray (olive-oil). Cook two pieces of turkey bacon in a skillet, along with two eggs. Eggs should be sunny side up (fried on the bottom, but egg yolks still runny. When both the eggs and bacon are done, remove from heat.

On a plate, put down two of the corn cakes. Top each one with a slice of turkey bacon (cut in half or thirds so it has a nice bed of turkey bacon, and it’s not just one long strip), the spinach and finally the egg. Top the egg with a dash of salt, pepper and chili powder.

Goes great with a side of avocado.

Turkey Burger w/ Avocado & Roasted Red Peppers

turkey burger frameThe big problem with turkey burgers is they dry out easily. But if you can make it juicy, it’s delicious.

In this burger recipe, I use a toasted english muffin as a bun. It’s crispy, and can handle juice well without getting soggy. Also check out my Garlic Rosemary French Fries Recipe for a great side!

Makes 1 turkey burger

Calories: 380 (if you add ketchup just round up to 400)

What you’ll need:

-4 oz of lean ground turkey

-1/4 of an avocado

-1/4 cup roasted red peppers



-chili powder*

-garlic powder*



*really only need a couple of dashes of each.

-Whole wheat english muffin (I used Thomas’ Light english muffins which are 100 calories a muffin.

-OPTIONAL: balsamic ketchup (I think it added a really great flavor. Heinz makes a brand, but if you can’t find it in the story traditional ketchup, or none at all works well. I wasn’t prepared to venture into making my own ketchup.)

In a bowl, place the turkey, salt, pepper and all the seasonings. Mix together. Make into a patty shape. (My ground turkey was moist enough that it didn’t need a binding agent, but use a tiny bit of egg whites if you find your patty is falling apart. Not too much though or it’ll be really goopy. gross.)

Heat a skillet on the stove (or grill if you have that option. I am not a grill master, but if you are go for it!) & spray with non-stick spray. (I have an olive oil sprayer that i love so I don’t have to keep buying spray. and it doesn’t have aerosol in it.) Place the patty on the stove on medium- medium high heat. (Each stove is different. Jut want to be able to cook the patty through without burning the outside.)

Toast your english muffin (hardest part of the recipe right? ha.)

Chop up the red peppers and avocado.

When you’re patty is done assemble it! Add the balsamic ketchup if you have it. Easy and quick recipe!