Can soy make your depression worse?

This article will discuss if soy sauce or food can make your depression worse. It will show how soy works in your body, and how this can lead to making your depressive symptoms more intense. The article will also show some changes you can do to your diet to avoid soy.

Can soy make your depression worse? 

Yes, soy can make your depression worse. Although it is often used to cook healthy foods, such as vegetable stir fry, they have a lot of gluten in it, which can make your depression worse. Although it is still under study why gluten can make you depressed, there has been some research, especially dine by Dr. Rodney Ford.

In his book called The Gluten Syndrome, he says that gluten may have an impact on our brain that connects to depression. He says that this can happen to people that have Celiac Disease, meaning people that don’t tolerate gluten or even people who can handle gluten well.

He says that after people have ingested a considerable amount of gluten, they can experience a sense of depression. The person’s mood may change, some people may feel sluggish, weepy, and others even are suicidal. It is also common that people to say they feel better once the gluten seems to be out of their system.

Another reason why soy can make your depression worse is that in it there is a substance called goitrogens, which usually negatively impact the thyroid. It can lead you to become more irritable, and tired. 

Goitrogen is a compound that makes it harder for the thyroid to produce the hormones your body needs it to produce. The soy foods that are richer in Goitrogens are Tofu, Tempeh, Edamame, and Soy milk.

As for how your thyroid can lead to depression, you should know that this gland is extremely important to your health. The hormones it produces will care for your metabolism and your energy levels. Commonly, a malfunction of your thyroid will lead to mental illness, especially depression and anxiety.

Beyond the symptoms of anxiety and depression, when your thyroid isn’t able to work as well as it should, the person may have insomnia, elevated heart rate, high blood pressure, irritability, mood swings, bloating, weight gain, memory loss, or fatigue.

By knowing all of this, it becomes clear that when a person is depressed, they should care about how much soy they put in their diet. Caring for it seems like a big step in improving their mental health and their mood. To do so, it is important to keep in mind that some foods may have soy hidden in them.

Here is a list of food that you may want to be careful with:

Asian foods

Baked goods and baking mixes

Bouillon cubes




Chewing gum

Chicken broth

Chicken (raw or cooked) processed with chicken broth


Cooking sprays


Deli meats made with hydrolyzed soy protein

Energy bars or nutrition bars

Frozen desserts 

Hamburger meat with soy protein fillers

Hamburger buns made with added soy flour

Imitation dairy foods

Imitations of meat

Infant formula



Nutrition supplement

Peanut butter and peanut butter substitutes

Protein powders made of soy protein powder

Sauces, gravies, and soups

Sausages and hot dogs made with soy protein fillers

Seasoning and spices


Vegetable broth

Veggie burgers

How can I replace soy as part of my diet? 

If you are depressed and want to avoid soy as part of your diet, since it may cause you to feel worse, know there are some things you can do. Here is a list of how you can replace soy in your diet.

The first thing to do, if you are looking for a great source of protein, is to add eggs to your diet. You can also replace the form of milk you use, so instead of using soy milk, you can start to have almond milk. Both of them are also rich in vitamin B12, which is great for your health.

Another great source of protein, which is soy-free, is beans. They are usually inexpensive and have a huge variety of them. They are also extremely rich in iron and folate. Nuts are also something you can add to your diet to replace soy. They are usually rich in vitamin E as well.

You can also use grains as a replacement for soy, and as your source of protein. An example of it is Quinoa, that beyond protein, is also rich in fiber. You can also add Flaxseed to your smoothies, and oat bran.

By doing these adjustments, you will still maintain a healthy and punishing diet, but will most likely prevent the sluggishness, weepy mood that soy can leave you with. This may seem too little when you are depressed, but step by step, caring for your well-being, you will begin to feel better.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Can soy make your depression worse? 

What are foods to avoid if I am depressed? 

If you have anxiety or depression there are some foods you should avoid. The first thing is caffeine because that will have a direct impact on your sleep, which can make your depression worse. You should also avoid alcohol because that can make your symptoms of depression more intense.

Processed food may also not be a good idea if you are depressed, as well as fried food since both can harm your mood. Sugar and artificial sweeteners can give you a rush at first, but after, they can make your symptoms of depression worse, in the same way as energy drinks.

What food should I have if I am depressed? 

If you are feeling depressed, there are some foods you can have that can make you feel somewhat better. The first ones are foods that are full of antioxidants. Those can help prevent the aging of brain cells. Good examples of those are apricots, broccoli, blueberries, kiwi, margarine, nuts, and seeds.

You should also have some smart carbs that can have a soothing effect on you. Try to have more complex carbs, for example, whole grains. You may also have fruits and vegetables that are rich in carbs.

Food that has a high level of protein such as turkey, tuna, and chicken is rich in something called tryptophan, which helps in the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for making you feel good. But if you don’t eat meat, you can also get it from low-fat cheese, peas, and milk.

Mediterranean food which is usually rich in vitamin B12 can also have a positive effect on how you feel. To that, you should add as many vegetables,  especially the dark green ones, nuts, and fruits as you can. 

You should also have food that is rich in selenium since that can improve your mood. For that, you should consume beans and legumes, and have lean meat such as turkey or skinless chicken, low-fat dairy, nuts, and seeds.

The same is said about food that is rich in Omega 3, such as fatty fish, flaxseed, nuts, canola, and dark green vegetables.

What is the 3 3 3 rule for anxiety? 

The 3 3 3 rule for anxiety is a technique that people can use to center themselves when they are feeling anxious. To do so, as you begin to feel anxious, or that a panic attack is underway, you can look around you and name 3 things that you see.

But don’t stop there. In the next stage of it, you should name 3 things that you can hear. And finally, name three parts of your body. This will help you center on the present moment, and what is going on around you, rather than those crippling thoughts anxiety brings you.

You can use this technique as many times as you want, and as it is necessary. There is no contraindication to it

What are food traps I should avoid when I am depressed? 

If you are depressed, there are some food traps you should avoid. They may only make you feel good in the short term, but they can harm your depression. 

The first thing to avoid is eating as a way to get some comfort. Although you may feel like eating too much, or some specific greasy foods can make you feel better, keep in mind it will only be good at that moment.

After you binge eat, you may start to feel ashamed, and self-loathing can kick in. All of that can make you even sadder than you were before. Aside from that, when you are depressed you should avoid eating too little. It will take a huge toll on your energy levels, which because of depression are not that great, to begin with.

Try to keep a routine of eating, which will also help with the third thing you should avoid. And that is eating whatever comes easily. Even though it may be hard to prepare a full healthy meal when you are depressed, know that caring for what you eat will have an impact on you, and may even improve your condition. 

If it seems hard for you to focus and cook, or even go to the grocery store, you may ask for help from your friends, or family members. They may help you with the groceries or even bring you some healthy food.

Does depression have a cure?

No, depression doesn’t have a cure. Rather than that, mental health professionals say that depression goes into remission. That is because it is impossible to affirm, once someone is feeling better, that they will never develop depression again in their lifetime.

And even though this can seem discouraging to people that are feeling better, or to the ones still going through depression, it is important to keep in mind that even though there is no cure, it doesn’t mean you won’t feel better.

As you go into remission, you will be able to feel joy again, and the interest in things will come back. Aside from that, you will have better control of your emotions. 

What you should keep in mind is that, even after you improve, you still should care for your mental health. It is only through healthy life habits, that you will be able to prevent a relapse of depression. 


This article centered on the influence soy may have on your body, especially in your mood if you are depressed. Aside from that, the article showed what are some exchanges you can make in your diet to not be so affected by soy.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write them in the section below.


7 Foods You Need to Avoid to Help Your Depression or Anxiety

How Certain Foods Can Change Your Mood

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