Top 8 Depression-Fighting Fruits and Veggies

Berry smoothie with citrus and mint

 Andrew Unangst / Photographer's Choice / Getty Images

According to the latest nutritional research, certain fruits and vegetables may contain compounds that ease depression and anxiety. Not only might these fruits and vegetables elevate your mood, but they'll also taste delicious in any meal, juice, or smoothie. Here's a list of nutrient-rich, potentially depression-fighting fruits and vegetables along with a few recipe ideas.

  • 01 of 08

    Berries

    Mixed berry smoothie in a Mason jar

     The Spruce

    Everyone loves berries, but did you know that they may be good for your mental health, too? A study recently concluded that blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries may block the chemicals that cause depression and anxiety. Berries are a great snack, but they also add a lovely color and tang to a juice or smoothie. If you're an adventurous baker, you should take a shot at making a delicious blueberry pie.

  • 02 of 08

    Pomegranate

    Pomegranate jelly

    Corrado Riccomini / Getty Images

    Pomegranate seeds are the perfect garnish—sprinkle them onto a salad, a panna cotta, or a pavlova. You'll love their tart, sweet flavor, and maybe how they affect your mood too. A recent study found that people who drank a glass of pomegranate juice each day for two weeks had measurably less depression and anxiety, as well as lower blood pressure.

  • 03 of 08

    Papaya

    Pineapple and papaya smoothie

     Brian Hagiwara / Photolibrary / Getty Images

    Though papaya isn't always easy to locate in grocery stores, it's worth the effort. You'll love its mellow, tropical tang. One sip of a creamy, decadent papaya smoothie will turn you into a papaya convert. Recent studies have concluded that this fruit contains powerful compounds linked to lower pain levels and may help provide a sense of calm and well-being.

  • 04 of 08

    Radish

    Braised daikon radishes

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    According to recent research, the humble radish will do more than add a sharp, bright flavor to your spread of crudités. In fact, researchers have discovered that radishes have compounds that increase dopamine and norepinephrine in our brains, potentially helping us to feel happier and more alert. Braised radishes are a delicacy, but feel free to roast them, pickle them, or add them to a smoothie.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Avocado

    Avocado toast with a soft-boiled egg

    The Spruce Eats

    Not only do avocados photograph well—pictures of avocado toast are all over the internet—they contain a whole host of important nutrients, including potassium, folate, vitamin K, and vitamin E. If you're feeling down or anxious, consider incorporating avocados into your diet (even in the form of raita or guacamole). Researchers have discovered that avocados contain tryptophan and omega-3 fatty acids, two compounds believed to play a key role in fighting depression.

  • 06 of 08

    Collard Greens

    Southern-style collard greens

    Preston Schlebusch / The Image Bank / Getty Images

    Collard greens may not be your favorite food, but if you cook them right, they lose all of that unpleasant, fibrous bitterness. In the American South, people tend to pair collard greens with smoked pork or a ham hock, but this healthy vegetable is also delightful in a vegan rice bowl. The best news: Collard greens are rich in magnesium, which may help maintain healthy serotonin levels.

  • 07 of 08

    Mango

    Fresh mango smoothie

     Philippe Desnerck / Getty Images

    Researchers have recently suggested that low levels of vitamin B6 might contribute to depression. Not to worry: A single mango satisfies 20 percent of your recommended vitamin B6 intake. If it's too cold out for a mango smoothie, then turn your fruit into a super simple mousse dessert or toss it into a quick salad.

  • 08 of 08

    Citrus

    Homemade lemonade with fresh mint

     Margaret Johnson / EyeEm / Getty Images

    You probably know that citrus fruits are bursting with vitamin C and folate. Did you know that these important nutrients increase dopamine production and may elevate your mood? Of course, when you're craving citrus, you're sometimes looking for something a little more complicated than lemonade. A decadent key lime bar or festive candied citrus peel is a perfect alternative.

Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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