Friday, January 21

Is there a relationship between poor diet and depression?


Depression has become a major public health challenge. Ranked by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the largest contributor to global disability, prevention interventions have become a priority.

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Although the relationship between diet and our mental health is complex, research shows a link between what we eat and how we feel. And is that in recent years the relationship between nutrition and mental health has gained considerable interest.

Epidemiological research determines that adherence to healthy dietary patterns or a Mediterranean diet is associated with a reduced risk of depression.

How diet influences mood

Nutrition is not only critical to human physiology and body composition. It could also have significant effects on mood and mental well-being. This is what a study published in European Neuropsychopharmacology, which further states that there is growing evidence between poor diet and the onset of mood disorders, including anxiety and depression.

The Spanish Society of Dietetics and Food Sciences (SEDCA) refers to a study which has evaluated the diet of more than 15,000 people through three indicators of diets considered healthy, such as the Mediterranean diet and the vegetarian one. The experts included as inclusion criteria not showing signs of depression.

After more than eight years of follow-up, the experts conclude that only with a moderate adherence to the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fruits, vegetables and nuts, we achieve protection of up to one 40% risk of depression.

A randomized controlled trial published in the journal PlosOne It also found that depression symptoms decreased significantly in a group of young adults who have followed a Mediterranean-style eating pattern for three weeks.

In contrast, depression scores among a control group of participants who did not change their diet and who based it on the consumption of refined carbohydrates, processed foods and sugary drinks, had a depression value that is in the range of “severity moderate “.

The conclusions of another research They are also clear: when we look closely at the diet of depressed people, one of the most striking aspects is that their diet is far from adequate.

There is no single miracle food, it is the whole that has benefits

Medical treatment and counseling help relieve symptoms of depression. A proper lifestyle, with a healthy diet, can also help us.

We are more protected from depression eating good And, although there is no specific diet to treat depression, there are some foods and habits that are more recommended than others:

  • Vitamin DAlthough we usually get most of our vitamin D through sun exposure, dietary sources are also important, such as fish, fortified dairy products, or eggs. All of them can help us improve the symptoms of depression, according to a meta-analysis.
  • Prioritize fruits, vegetables, and whole grainsFoods such as lentils, nuts, and fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to function well. In addition, they are digested little by little, which helps the supply of glucose to the brain. They are also rich in B vitamins and zinc, essential for controlling depression.
  • Include proteinFish, poultry, eggs and some green leafy vegetables such as spinach are rich in protein, which contains tryptophan, the consumption of which helps with depression.
  • Don’t forget the fishSome studies suggest that omega 3 oils, present in oily fish, can also help with depression. It is important to include fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines or trout at least twice a week.
  • Eat little regularly– The brain depends on a constant supply of glucose because it is its main fuel. It comes mostly from starchy carbohydrates.

In addition to food, regular physical exercise, spending time outdoors and sleeping the necessary hours will also help us to prevent or mitigate the symptoms of depression. And is that depression is a complex problem that involves several lifestyle factors that interact with each other,

Foods that can make depression worse

There are some foods that are more difficult to deal with because they are what many people often turn to when they have a difficult day. Its moderate consumption does not pose a risk, but we must be aware of the negative impacts that certain foods can have on our mental health:

  • SugarSugary foods and drinks can significantly affect our mood. Cakes, cookies, even condiments like barbecue sauce are some of the foods that we should avoid.
  • Alcohol: There is a clear relationship between regular and excessive alcohol consumption and mental health problems because alcohol can aggravate or trigger new episodes of depression and anxiety.

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