Do you know how your mood and your overall mental health are being affected by the everyday decisions you make?

It’s easy to see how certain aspects of life can have an impact. Having a very busy job or negative interactions with people, for example, could leave you feeling anxious and exhausted at the end of the day. If you don’t address such issues in the long run, they could even contribute to depression.

Other aspects of life, however, are less obvious in their effect on mental health.

Did you know that the foods you eat could either protect you from depression or contribute to it? Research into food suggests that certain foods and the natural compounds found in them affect the brain.

The good news is that a few of the tastiest options out there seem to have protective qualities. Today, we’ll talk about two of these foods: dark chocolate and red wine. Could these actually be incorporated in a happiness diet? Science says yes.

Dark Chocolate Has Anti-Depression Qualities

Chocolate lovers can rejoice in the fact that the latest research proves the ability of this delicious sweet treat to offer protection against depression.

Researchers have found out that dark chocolate contains mood enhancement compounds. In fact, people who eat a small amount of dark chocolate on a regular basis are 70 per cent less likely than their peers to experience depressive symptoms.

The team from University College London’s Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care studied data from trials involving over 13,600 adults in the US. One of the most interesting findings was that the 25 per cent of participants who ate the most chocolate (regardless of the type) reported the least amount of depressive symptoms.

Scientists still cannot tell exactly how chocolate functions to prevent depressive symptoms.

There are several possible explanations.

Dark chocolate contains a lot more cocoa than milk chocolate. Cocoa, just like coffee, is a stimulant. It can produce feelings of happiness and even euphoria. Some people may feel more energised after eating chocolate, which will perk them up and prevent them from feeling sad or empty.

In addition, dark chocolate contains phenylethylamine – a neuromodulator that seems to have a positive impact on mood stabilisation.

One other very important aspect of the study, however, suggests that the anti-depression benefits are solely experienced by those who enjoy consuming the chocolate and fund it delicious. People who don’t enjoy dark chocolate seem to be experiencing minimal to no effects.

Thus, the please derived from consuming such a food could also play a role in warding off depression.

Chocolate and Wine: A Winning Combination

Red one is another favourite that’s been studied for its anti-depression properties.

Red wine is made of grapes and grapes are a powerful source of resveratrol. An antioxidant and a beneficial phenol, resveratrol has sometimes been called “the fountain of youth” due to its protective and anti-aging properties.

Resveratrol is also considered the reason behind the anti-depression properties of red wine.

There is some evidence that resveratrol could be acting as an anti-depressant. The exact mechanism in which it works, however, still remains unknown.

In a recent animal study, it was found out that the resveratrol found in red wine has an effect on some important chemicals playing a role in the functioning of the nervous system. Resveratrol lowers the production of a stress-response hormone called corticosterone.

Some researchers are optimistic that this mechanism could help for the creation of new natural anti-depression medications based on resveratrol. The medical and research communities still have a long journey to travel until they get there. For the time being, enjoying a quality glass of red wine every once in a while could be a good option for giving your body some of the natural resveratrol it needs.

Food for Depression Control

The psychiatrists and psychologists at Adelphi Psych Medicine clinic agree that there’s a strong link between physical health and mental health. A happy, strong body can help for a happy, strong mind. To be healthy, a body needs to be nurtured property.

In addition, certain foods contain mood stabilising compounds just like dark chocolate and red wine.

Antioxidants, for example, play a crucial role in preventing cell damage. Studies show that the brain is particularly at risk when exposed to high levels of free radicals – compounds that cause damage on a cellular level and speed up the aging process. Antioxidants provide the building blocks that the body needs to “repair” its affected cells and to prevent future damage.

Some of the best natural sources of antioxidants include berries, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, green leafy vegetables, peppers, tomatoes, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils.

Slow carbohydrates like whole-grains are another excellent choice. These complex carbs enhance the production of serotonin, which is a mood boosting brain chemicals. Slow carbs help for the release of energy over time. As a result, they don’t cause an energy peak and a crash soon after. To ensure mood stability, avoid quick carbs like sugary treats, cakes, pastries and carbonated beverages.

Finally, go for selenium-rich foods. There have been multiple studies that establish a link between selenium deficiency and bad mood. Taking a supplement can be a good choice to overcome a deficiency. Once you get to a healthy level, you can begin consuming more selenium-rich foods like beans, legumes, dairy products, nuts, seeds, all kinds of seafood, lean meat and whole-grains.

Diet isn’t everything when it comes to fighting depression but it can certainly have an impact.

The right foods can be used as a form of supportive therapy, especially if a person is already getting professional assistance.

In Singapore, you can address depressive symptoms in many ways. Some of the best depression treatment approaches include psychotherapy, the selection of the right medications and social help. A tailored, holistic approach will be very important to understand the specific cause of depression in an individual and to address that reason in the best possible way.

Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic has the reputation and the team to offer depression sufferers in Singapore holistic and sustainable treatment options. Contact us today to learn more about our approach and to begin your healing journey.