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Most of us feel a bit down in the dumps from time to time, but for some people it can be a lot worse. There are many symptoms of depression, but it’s only when someone suffers from several of them for a period of a few weeks or more that they might be diagnosed as clinically depressed. Symptoms of depression include poor appetite accompanied by weight loss or increased appetite accompanied by weight gain, lack of concentration, lack of energy, short temper, low self-esteem, anxiety, insomnia or excessive sleep, tearfulness, sense of failure, and so on.

While there is no magic cure for depression, there is no doubt that changes in diet can significantly alleviate many of its symptoms. To start with, there are things you should avoid: food high in sugar, saturated fats, salt and food additives. On the drinks front, it is very important to try to limit the amount of coffee and alcohol you consume as both of these can make depression worse.

As for what you should eat, it is essential to get a wide variety of minerals and vitamins, which you can get if you consume a wide variety of fruit and veg. Other important nutrients are supplied by beans, seeds, nuts and fish. (The nutrients in fish that combat depression are omega-3 fatty acids, which are also available in flaxseed oil.)

Why not try Barbara’s recipe that may help a little:

Root Vegetable Casserole

2 Large Potatoes (cubed)
4 tbsp Olive Oil
1 Lemon (unwaxed)
1 tsp Ground Cumin
1 Red Onion (sliced thinly)
15 Baby Onions
4 Large Carrots (cut in to chunks)
1 Swede (cut in to chunks)
1 tin Chickpeas
1 tin Chopped Tomatoes
Chopped Parsley (one handful)
2 Yeast-free Stock Cubes
4 tbsp Flaxseed Oil (garnish only)

Fry the red onions and baby onions in oil and add the cumin and lemon. Add 225ml boiling water and melt the stock cubes. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. To serve, pour a tablespoon of flaxseed oil over each portion of casserole and garnish. (Serves 4)

Barbara Cox - top nutritionist at Nutrichef ( in the UK is passionate about the benefits people get from eating a healthy, well balanced diet.

Depression - alone