Is there such a thing as a depression diet? Thinking of food as fuel for your body is a mindset shift that could help ease your depression symptoms and prolong the beneficial effects of Ketamine Infusion Therapy. Like an expensive car, your brain functions best when it gets only premium fuel. Following a healthy diet that supports essential brain functions should be a part of your overall treatment plan.
What Does A Healthy Diet Consist Of?
Generally, eating moderate amounts of whole grains, fruits, vegetables such as leafy greens, lean proteins such as chicken, fish, and turkey, and healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, fish oil, and olive oil is a healthy, well-balanced diet. Remember to stay hydrated by drinking 64-128 oz of water a day, depending on activity level.
Follow the “Divide Your Plate” strategy:
- Picture a dinner plate and divide it in half.
- Fill one half with vegetables and divide the other half into two quarters.
- Fill one quarter with lean protein, such as fish, skinless poultry, lean beef, beans or tofu.
- Fill the other quarter with a grain-based or starchy side dish, preferably a whole grain like brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, or a slice of whole-grain bread.
Avoid food such as red meat, soda, junk food, high-fat dairy products, fast food, and sweets. Processed or refined foods are harmful to the brain as they promote inflammation and oxidative stress. Multiple studies have found a correlation between a diet high in refined sugars and a worsening of depression symptoms.
The Depression Diet
Eating healthy is key to maintaining your mental health, so much so that it has inspired an entire field of medicine called nutritional psychiatry. The link between mood and food is relatively new, but science is starting to corroborate it. The theory is if your brain is deprived of good-quality nutrition, or if free radicals or damaging inflammatory cells are circulating within the brain, further contributing to brain tissue injury, consequences are to be expected.
A poor diet is a commonly overlooked factor contributing to depression. Studies have shown that the risk of depression is 25-35% higher in those who follow a typical “Western” diet compared to those who follow a Mediterranean diet that prioritizes more vegetables, fruits, unprocessed grains, fish, and seafood.
Eating high-quality foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourishes the brain and protects it from oxidative stress. Mental health experts observe an improvement in mental function roughly 7-10 days after patients implement diet changes. Peak improvement occurs after 3 to 6 months of brain-healthy eating.
Before you sign up for a blood test that pinpoints any nutritional deficiencies, know that the purpose of this article is to get you to start making better decisions about the food you eat. You don’t have to understand how having low vitamin D impacts depression, or calculate exactly how much more you need to see an improvement in your mood. You don’t even need to head out to your local pharmacy to buy these in supplement form. You should be able to achieve your daily recommended intake just by eating well-balanced meals built around the following:
If you feel you have made dietary changes and are not seeing any improvement in your depression symptoms, reach out to your doctor for testing and potentially a referral to a dietician or nutritionist who can help you further.
Meal Planning for Depression
Many people who suffer from depression find eating healthy overwhelming. When symptoms are at their peak, the last thing you want to do is meal plan, shop for groceries, cook, and clean. You may find yourself hitting up the drive through or ordering out more often than not. You may also find yourself “eating your feelings” by choosing unhealthy meal options or reverting back to obsessive habits at the root of eating disorders.
Meal planning tips for those struggling with depression:
- Start your new healthy lifestyle after your Ketamine Infusion series or booster when you’re feeling your best. With your depression symptoms not holding you back and your newfound drive to maintain your feel-good state, you’ll be able to create and stick to a long-term plan.
- Subscribe to a healthy meal kit service such as Blue Apron, Home Chef, Freshly, or Sun Basket. For the comparative price of eating out, meal kits take the hassle out of meal prep. There are many meal kit options out there for just about every dietary need. See more here.
- If you’re stuck in a meal rut, try meal planning. There are several apps available to plan your weekly meals, such as eMeals or Mealime, that can compile ingredients for you in an organized grocery list. The same can be accomplished with a little Pinterest research and a weekly planner.
- Avoid the hassle of grocery shopping with grocery delivery or pickup. Many local grocers are offering these services for free during the pandemic as a way to avoid crowded stores. Ordering groceries online can save you money – avoiding unnecessary instore purchases – and time by selecting the most convenient time for you.
- Dedicate one day out of the week to meal prep. Incorporating meal prep into your weekly routine will lay the foundation of healthy eating success. You’ll save time in the long run by planning time-saving easy meals, and it will keep yourself motivated to follow through the whole week.
Ketamine Clinics Los Angeles is dedicated to helping our patients achieve long-term relief. Completing your Ketamine Treatment series may feel like you’ve won the war, however you will have the best success when you approach treatment from multiple angles – from boosters to therapy to positive lifestyle changes. We’re here for you every step of the way with continuous mental health resources and a caring staff ready to help you book your next infusion whenever the time comes.