Posted By Humphrey Bwayo Posted On

A DIET TO REDUCE DEPRESSION

With a pandemic at an all destructive phase, there’s no doubt that we are living through tough times. Everyone is feeling the pinch, health-wise, financially, socially, and worse, mentally. According to a study done by the University of Sussex, Imperial College, and University College London, six in every ten individuals have a pre-existing mental health issue—This is serious!

Fortunately, there’s something we can all do to prevent depression.

Is Depression Linked to Diet?

While eating certain foods will not directly ease your symptoms or instantly lighten your moods, a healthy diet might be the solution. Diet is an essential component when it comes to mental health, and due to its impact, it has influenced an entirely new field of medicine known as Nutritional psychiatry.

Ever heard of the saying, “you are what you eat?” Well, what you eat is of vital importance when it comes to your health. According to Harvard Health, there is a link between what we put in our mouths and the risks of depression.

Based on their study, it is believed that a diet that is characterized by a high intake of fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grain, olive oil, antioxidants, low-fat dairy, and low intake of animal proteins was associated with decreased risk of depression.

What Diet Can Help Reduce Depression?

A diet that consists of high consumption of high-fat dairy products, red meat, sweets, refined grains, potatoes, butter, and low intakes of vegetables and fruits is usually linked with an increased risk of depression.  

It’s also easy to conclude that depression kicks in first and is the likely cause of eating unhealthy foods. While this is true; researchers also found that a healthy diet was associated with significantly lower development of depression.

Antioxidants

Our bodies usually produce molecules known as free radicals; but, this leads to cell damage and other problems, including aging. Studies have also shown that our brains are particularly at risk. There’s no way of stopping free radicals. However, you can significantly lessen their effects by eating foods that are rich in antioxidants such as beta-carotene like apricots, broccoli, vitamin C: blueberries, grapefruits, kiwi, vitamin E: nuts and seeds, vegetable oil.

Smart carbs

Carbohydrates have been linked to the mood-boosting chemical serotonin. Experts aren’t sure about this, but it is believed that carb cravings could be related to low serotonin activity. It’s essential to choose your carbs wisely, limiting sugary foods. For example, it’s healthier for your brain if you avoid simple carbs such as cakes and cookies and instead have smart carbs like whole grains. Legumes, fruits, and vegetables also have healthy fiber and carbs.

Boost alertness with protein-rich food

Foods such as Tuna and chicken contain amino acids that are known as tryptophan; they are responsible for making serotonin. It’s advisable to eat something with protein several times a day, especially when you need to clear your brain and boost your energy. Great sources for proteins are peas and beans, soy products, fish, poultry, low-fat cheese, and yogurt.

Mediterranean diet

Based on the results gathered from a Spanish study, the rate of depression in men, especially those who smoked rose as they got less folate. The same with women who lived a sedentary lifestyle- but when they had less vitamin B12.

With these kinds of stats, it’s difficult to rule which way the influence goes, do bad eating habits lead to depression, or does depression force people to eat poorly?

Whichever the case, you could get these B vitamins by adopting a Mediterranean diet.

A Mediterranean diet consists of fruits, legumes, nuts, and dark green vegetables. Vitamin B12 can be found in all lean and low-fat animal products like fish and low dairy products.

Sources

Harvard Health

Everyday Health

Precision Nutrition