Depression is a real illness which affects so many people. In fact, many people will, at some stage in their life feel the effects of some form of depression. Current statistics reveal that about 1 in 5 people will suffer from depression at some point in their lives.

Depression usually occurs when there is a chemical imbalance in the brain. The imbalance occurs with serotonin - an important neurotransmitter, which helps to transfer messages throughout the structures of the brain's nerve cells. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that controls how we feel - happy or sad. If the levels of serotonin are awry, depression can result.

Anti-depressants work by regulating the amount of serotonin, to keep the brain functioning properly and keep depression at bay.

The advice below may be a means to assist those with mild to moderate depression, who are not already taking medication, but it can also be an adjunct to conventional treatment, for those taking medication.

Since the latest research has shown that anti-depressants may only be useful for those with severe depression and may not have much of an effect on those people with mild to moderate depression, it may be advisable to try the following first before trying medication, to help to alleviate depression in those people:

Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is another useful nutrient and is the precursor to tryptophan - this means your body needs to have enough Vitamin B6 in order to make tryptophan (which is an essential amino acids - meaning the body cannot manufacture it and it is necessary to be taken in from foods ingested). Vitamin B6 can be taken in the form of a supplement or through foods high in vitamin B6, such as: yellowfin tuna, beef liver, potato, fortified cereals, banana, chicken breast.

There are some foods which actually help the body make "happy hormones" - these foods are: low fat meat (chicken / turkey especially), milk and other low fat dairy, eggs. The happy hormone is tryptophan, an essential amino acids which helps to regulate levels of serotonin in the brain and has the effect of making a person feel happier.

Study after study has shown that moderate and regular exercise will help with mild to moderate depression to the same level as medication. The only hard thing to do is to actually get up and do the exercise, which is hard if you feel even a little down. Just try to do it and you will soon start to feel a little better with each session.

Avoid Refined Sugar to Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
If your blood sugar levels are erratic from high intakes of highly refined, processed and sugary foods, this will wreak havoc on your emotional stability.

Foods that contain high levels of sugar (or are highly refined carbohydrates and have a high glycemic index) make your blood sugar levels go too high very quickly and then drop again very quickly. This is not good for healthy individuals, but worse if you have any type of mental or physical affliction, due to the detrimental effects of the sugar fluctuations.

It is well known that not having stable and consistent sugar levels is not beneficial in many ways and can make a person feel anxious and nervous (low sugar levels), while high sugar levels can create artificial euphoria and feeling like one is "drunk". Keeping your sugar levels consistent, by eating wholesome, wholegrain healthy foods, with some, low fat, good quality protein at each meal, will really go a long way to ensuring your depression is not exacerbated.

Always eat breakfast - have some cereal, milk and fruit, eggs and fruit or beans on toast. Try to make sure you eat some healthy snacks in between your main meals (good snacks are some crispbread with some hommous or some low fat cheese and tomatoes or some nuts and fresh fruit) to keep your blood sugar levels on an even level.

Get a regular routine going - try to do the same things at the same time - this will help you by ensuring your life is stable and consistent.

Have Medical Tests
There are several health conditions that can have depression as a symptom (thyroid conditions, lupus and ME to name just a few) - so you should ensure that you have had a full medical check up to rule out any of those conditions.

Please consult your medical practitioner if you would like to try any of the following (as it may interfere with your medication - either anti-depressants or any other medication).

For more information about health and nutrition and which foods are high in vitamin B6, tryptophan, visit:

Author's Bio: 

Zaklina Trajcevska is the creator of, an informational web site which aims to educate people about nutrition, fitness and health. Zaklina Trajcevska is passionate about nutrition and health and has a BSc degree.