Diabetes and Depression: Nutrition Can Help



If you have diabetes, you have a higher risk of depression compared to people who don’t have diabetes. While researchers aren’t exactly sure why this is, living with and managing a chronic condition every day can be stressful and can take its toll. In addition, you might feel alone and different from other people, and you might be worried about complications from your diabetes.  And if you don’t feel supported by your family or healthcare team, you can end up feeling frustrated and sad. Over time, these feelings can lead to depression.

If you’ve been feeling sad, blue or down for more than a few days at a time, it’s important to seek professional help. Depression can be effectively treated and managed in a number of ways, including with therapy or medication.

Healthy Eating Tips

No specific food will cure depression, but making healthy food choices might help ease some of the symptoms. Here’s what to include in your eating plan:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats help to boost mood, improve memory and reduce inflammation. In fact, they can act like natural anti-depressants. Food sources for omega-3’s include fatty fish (like salmon and tuna), flaxseed, canola oil, walnuts and pumpkin seeds. Talk with your doctor before taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements.
  • Vitamin D. A lack of vitamin D is linked with depression. Getting plenty of sunshine is an important way of making sure you get vitamin D. This “sunshine” vitamin is also found in fatty fish (including salmon and sardines), milk and yogurt fortified with vitamin D, egg yolks, liver and cheese. If you’re deficient in vitamin D, your doctor might recommend that you take a supplement.
  • Folate, or folic acid, is a B vitamin that might help anti-depressants work better. Eat broccoli, asparagus, spinach, avocado, eggs or fortified cereals to get your daily dose of folate.
  • Healthy carbohydrates. Eating carbohydrate foods can stimulate the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that can make you feel good. A lack of serotonin has also been linked with depression. Choose healthy carb foods to boost serotonin levels. These include whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables.

Besides making sure you include these nutrients in your diet, you can  lift your mood if you:

  • Eat a variety of foods.
  • Limit alcoholic beverages, caffeine, and fast and refined foods.
  • Energize yourself with physical activity.
  • Do your best to get plenty of sleep.



(97 Articles)

Amy Campbell MS, RD, LDN, CDE is an experienced health, nutrition and diabetes educator and communicator with more than 25 years of experience within the healthcare sector. Amy has extensive expertise in editing and writing for patients, consumers and healthcare professionals; public speaking, teaching and group facilitation; project and account management; and content and curriculum development.


She is currently the Director for Clinical Education Content Development and Training at Good Measures LLC, a Health Professional Advisor at the Egg Nutrition Center, and a blogger/Writer for Madavor Media.

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