Food choices have a massive impact of how we feel, perform, look, and age. There is a lot of focus today on “the optimal diet”, with discussions about the exact amount of specific nutrients and fights over nutritional timing. In earnest, we all know that if we eat whole foods, skip the processed stuff and don´t add refined sugar or too much alcohol to our diet, we will live a healthy life.
A “bad” diet has been linked to an increased risk of falling into depression, but it has also been shown that a diet based on high intakes of fruit, vegetables, fish, and whole grains may be associated with a reduced risk of depression (1,2).
A recent 12 week randomized controlled trial tested this approach on patients with major depression. Patients were randomly selected to either a dietary improvement setup or a social support setup, both groups with equal days and actual time in consulting. The diet was in general as mentioned above (the good diet). The diet group showed significant improvement on symptoms, mood and anxiety, compared to the control group (3).
Not depressed? Why should you care? Well, it is estimated that about 6.7% right now suffer from this condition, that’s 16.1 million adults in the U.S (4). Chances are that you, a family member or at least someone in your vicinity will fall into depression.
The study supports a beneficial role of good dietary choices for changing a depressed state to the better. Keep up your stomach happy and your mind will follow.
- Jacka et al. Moving towards a population health approach to the primary prevention of common mental disorders. BMC Medicine 2012, 10:149 .
- Jun S Lai et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of dietary patterns and depression in community-dwelling adults. Am J Clin Nutr 2014;99:181–97.
- Jacka et al. A randomised controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major depression (the ‘SMILES’ trial). BMC Medicine (2017) 15:23
- NIH. Major depression Among Adults. Used 20/3-17