Children, like adults, are sometimes unhappy, but if such phases pass off quickly, no one thinks anything of it. However, if a child’s sadness continues consistently for a long-ish period, and it interferes with his normal activities, school, interests and family life, it could point to childhood depression. The good news is that depression, though serious, is also treatable.
In fact, apart from medical treatments for childhood depression, there are certain foods too that can get rid of it. Here are 11 foods that can cure it:
11 Foods that Cure Child Depression
1. Antioxidants-rich foods
Free radicals, found in our bodies, cause cell damage and aging, among other problems. Though there’s no one way of stopping the ill-effects of free radicals, yet by eating the following foods, their destructive effect can be reduced:
Beta-carotene:carrots, peaches, apricots, collards, spinach, broccoli, sweet potato, cantaloupe and collards
Vitamin C: oranges, strawberries, grapefruit, blueberries, kiwi, broccoli, potatoes, peppers and tomatoes
Vitamin E: vegetable oils, margarine, wheat germ and nuts and seeds
Carbohydrates are associated with serotonin, the mood-boosting brain chemical. Restrict eating sugary foods and choose complex carbs like whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes.
3. Protein-rich foods
These foods increase alertness and include foods like chicken, tuna and turkey. They contain an amino acid, tryptophan, that helps produce serotonin. In order to have a clear mind and have elevated energy levels, kids should eat proteins several times a day. These include lean beef, milk, fish, beans, peas, soy, yogurt and poultry.
4. Omega-3 foods
Foods that treat mood disorders to a great extent are omega-3 foods. About 33% of fatty acids in the brain lipids come under the omega-3 umbrella. So, for kids to have a fully functioning brain, eating omega-3 rich foods is excellent. These foods reduce inflammation and increase communication. They include walnuts, salmon, egg yolks, chia seeds, herring, mackerel, white fish and flax seeds.
5. Fruits and vegetables
A high intake of fruits and vegetables helps increase the intake of basic nutrients that help with improving a child’s mood. Fruits and veggies are rich in folate that stimulate the metabolic processes of the brain. Conversely, a deficiency in folate leads to depression. Foods rich in folate include avocado, spinach, broccoli, asparagus and beets.
6. Healthy fats
With a regular intake of healthy fats, children can get the benefit of vital vitamins and minerals that play a part in improving their mood and boosting their energy levels. These foods also negate the impact of free radicals that also cause depression. Foods rich in healthy fats include coconut oil, extra virgin oil, walnuts, avocados, grass-fed butter and flax seeds.
7. Lean protein
One of the many benefits of eating proteins is that it aids neurological function. It also balances the hormones, provides the requisite energy and is a mood-upper. Eating insufficient protein causes physical exhaustion, weakened immunity and moodiness. Lean protein is found in lentils, organic chicken, yogurt, raw cheese, bone broth, grass-fed beef, chicken and black beans.
8. Probiotic Foods
Probiotic foods help to increase energy levels, allows for better cognitive function and stimulates mental health. They are found in yogurt, fermented vegetables, kimchi salad, kefir miso and kombucha.
9. Magnesium-rich foods
Insufficient magnesium in the body reduces the brain’s serotonin level in the brain, causing kids to be depressive. This is a very important mineral that normalizes the body’s biochemical functions and deals with depression. Magnesium treats depression effectively, so it is good to include it in a depressed child’s diet. It is rich in dark green leafy veggies, cashew nuts, almonds, banana, nuts, black beans, soy-milk and spinach.
10. Green Tea
Not only does green tea have antioxidants in plenty but it also can fight depression, due to the presence of an amino acid called theanine. It is found in tea leaves and brings relaxation to tea drinkers.
This spice can boost a child’s mood due to the two active compounds, turmerones and curcuminods, that have wide-ranging health benefits, one of them being depression.
A depressed child is a source of great anxiety to his parents and teachers. It’s worse when the child doesn’t open up about it. At such times, it’s best to divert his attention away from the source of depression and towards food, giving him a different treat each time.