Eat To Beat Depression - Performance Kitchen

Is there a diet for depression?

If you’re depressed, taking medication is only one of many treatment options. A holistic approach focuses on treating your whole being -- body and mind -- to help you feel better.

Depression is a common mental disorder and one of the main causes of disability worldwide. Globally, an estimated 264 million people are affected by depression. In a given year, nearly 15 million adults in the U.S. suffer from depression. More women are affected than men. Depression is affected by co-morbid diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and immune dysfunction, and it also includes high suicide risk and frequent hospitalizations. This makes treating the whole body even more important.

Eat to beat depression and anxiety by focusing on the following foods recommended by our Chief Health Officer, Dr. Robert Graham from FRESH Med NYC.

Fish & Seafood

Omega-3 fats are important in brain health and may be involved in the functioning of serotonin, a neurotransmitter important in the regulation of mood. Choose seafood that is high in omega-3s yet low in mercury, such as mackerel, salmon, herring, sardines, anchovies, Rainbow trout, oysters, and shad.

Leafy Greens

Rich in vitamins K and C, folate, calcium, phytonutrients and fiber. One reason is that people with depression have been found to have a lower dietary intake of folate compared to those without depression. Try brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, and watercress.

Probiotics (Fermented Foods)

Microorganisms living in your gut, including probiotics, can play a key role in mood regulation by helping to reduce inflammation in your body, produce feel-good neurotransmitters, and affect your stress response. This might be a factor in why a higher-than-average number of people with irritable bowel syndrome also develop depression as well as anxiety.

Food that contain probiotics include: 

  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha
  • Miso
  • Sauerkraut
  • Tempeh
  • Tofu
  • Yogurt


Walnuts are known to support overall brain health, being one of the highest plant-based sources of omega-3 and a great source of protein to help keep blood sugar levels at a healthy balance. Eat 1/4 cup of walnuts a day. 

Brazil nuts are high in selenium. Which may improve mood by reducing inflammation. Selenium is also an antioxidant, which helps prevent cell damage. Brazil nuts and other nuts are also a good source of vitamin  E. Eat 2-3 brazil nuts a day. 


Beans are a great source of protein and fiber, both of which help to maintain stable and consistent blood sugar levels. Beans are also great sources of folate. Folate is a B vitamin that helps the body produce blood cells, DNA and RNA, and metabolize proteins.

Eat The Rainbow

Eating a wide variety of different colored plant foods provides a diet rich in flavonoids, phytonutrients known to be protective of oxidative stress in blood vessels and brain cells. These include berries, alliums (onions, scallions, garlic), celery, parsley, cocoa, green tea, citrus fruits, soy beans, and fermented soy products like miso or tempeh.