About 15 million Americans or 6.7 percent of the population are believed to suffer from depression, a condition that can lead to poorer health, difficulty in holding a job and retaining relationships as well as increases tendencies for suicides.

Findings of a new study have found that a diet rich in fish can help prevent depression risks. Researchers from the Qingdao University in China looked at the data of over 150,000 people and found that that those whose diets are rich in fish have reduced risks for depression by as much as 17 percent.

They also found that those who consumer lower amounts of fish and fish oils tend to be more depressed.

It is not clear why eating more fish is associated with lower risks of depression albeit there are a number of feasible explanations.

Earlier studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids which are present in fish can change the structure of brain cell membranes. Other fatty acids in fish may also alter the activity of dopamine and serotonin, which are believed to play a part in depression.

"This meta-analysis indicates that high-fish consumption can reduce the risk of depression," wrote study researcher Dongfeng Zhang, from the Qingdao University and colleagues in their research published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health on Sept. 10.

Besides fish, there are also a number of foods that can help ward off depression. Walnuts, for instance, is also known to lessen symptoms of depression being one the richest plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

People have tendency to eat chocolates when their depressive symptoms strike. While it isn't a good idea to overindulge in sweetened chocolates when depressed, evidence show that eating chocolate in moderation can indeed make a person feel better. Eating dark chocolate is a healthier option. It contains important types of antioxidants and is known to lower blood pressure which adds to a feeling of calm.

Lean sources of protein are known to be beneficial for depressed people but turkey has an edge because it contains higher levels of a chemical known as tryptophan, which stimulates the production of serotonin, a feel-good chemical that the body produces.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that people with lower intake of vitamin B have higher odds for depression. Eggs happen to be rich in vitamin B and eating them could help reduce the risks of depression.

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