As I have worked with my own depression, I have found that for a long time, there were seven basic mistakes that I was making with my health, which I think a lot of people make. I saw several psychiatrists, psychologists and doctors about my depression, and not one of them mentioned these crucial aspects of nutrition.
The best natural way to raise serotonin levels is to get more protein. Basically, the protein that we get from the food that we eat gets broken down into the amino acids that are required to create the body’s proteins. It is these proteins that are used to create neurotransmitters. Many of these amino acids are referred to as essential amino acids, meaning we can only get them from food. Our bodies cannot make essential amino acids by themselves. It is important to get the recommended daily amount of protein, and it’s important to get this protein throughout the day. A person cannot eat one 12-ounce steak at dinner and get all the protein he or she needs. Basically, there is too much protein in that single meal for the body to successfully break down, so much of it gets metabolized as sugar. We actually need approximately 30-35% of the daily recommended amount of protein at each of our three meals (or to plan protein-based snacks throughout the day).
There are several neurotransmitters implicated in depression: serotonin is the one more commonly influenced by antidepressant drugs, but dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine have all received attention as potential causes of depression. All of these neurotransmitters are created using different essential amino acids. So, for example, serotonin comes from Tryptophan. Tryptophan is found in cottage cheese, milk, lean meats, eggs, dairy products, turkey, brown rice, nutritional yeast, soy products, nuts (particularly peanuts and almonds), seeds, and Spirulina (an algae high in protein). Meanwhile, apples, bananas, beets, chicken, cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, fish (especially mackerel, salmon, striped bass, rainbow trout, halibut, tuna, and sardines), watermelon, wheat germ, beans and legumes all potentially get broken down to help us create dopamine and/or nor epinephrine. More info for depression here stellarlifestyles.