Laura R LaChance, Drew Ramsey
To investigate which foods are the most nutrient dense sources of nutrients demonstrated by the scientific literature to play a role in the prevention and promotion of recovery from depressive disorders.
A systematic literature review was conducted to derive a list of Antidepressant Nutrients from the 34 nutrients known to be essential for humans using level of evidence criteria. Nutritional data was extracted for a subset of foods with a high content of at least 1 Antidepressant Nutrient using a USDA database. These foods were analyzed for Antidepressant Nutrient density resulting in an Antidepressant Food Score (AFS). Plant and animal foods were analyzed separately.
Twelve Antidepressant Nutrients relate to the prevention and treatment of depressive disorders: Folate, iron, long- chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), magnesium, potassium, selenium, thiamine, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, and zinc. The highest scoring foods were bivalves such as oysters and mussels, various seafoods, and organ meats for animal foods. The highest scoring plant foods were leafy greens, lettuces, peppers, and cruciferous vegetables.
The AFS is based on a nutrient profiling system devised to identify foods with the highest nutrient density of nutrients with clinical evidence to support their role in depressive disorders. This list of foods and food categories with the highest density of the 12 Antidepressant Nutrients, the Antidepressant Foods, should be considered by researchers in the design of future intervention studies and clinicians as dietary options to support prevention and recovery from depression disorders.