A Diet Rich in Fiber and Vegetables can Relieve Depression

Posted on February 11, 2019

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It is a well-established fact that diet can play a huge part in affecting our physical health, but what about our mental health? There has long been suspicion that diet can affect our mental health as well, but there was no evidence to substantiate this claim. This was the motivation behind the study conducted by Dr. Joseph Firth, an Honorary Researcher at the University of Manchester to investigate this claim. He understood the possibility of the association but was aware that improving one’s diet does not automatically alleviate symptoms mental health such as depression or anxiety. Thus, the study’s primary focus was to establish definitively, if a better diet could indeed improve mental health particularly in relation to mood disorders.

Nearly 46,000 individuals participated in his study and the results reviewed to be rather promising. According their analysis, every kind of dietary improvement lead to a subsequent significant reduction in depressive symptoms, but not anxiety. Some of these diets include those for weight-loss, fat-reduction and nutrient rich ones. Additionally, having a “junk food” diet of fast foods and refined sugars has been said to bring about negative psychological effects, what this study found was simply swapping out these types of foods for more nutrient-dense meals that are high in fiber and vegetables, appeared to be enough for avoiding these negative effects. The key finding is that the diet change does not have to be highly-specific or specialized in any way as any simple changes proved to be equally beneficial for one’s mental health.

Taking the findings from this study and combining it with another well-known research on the impact of exercise on mental health, researchers have found that combining these two interventions, meaning exercise and dietary changes, led to the greater improvements in depressive symptoms. This illuminates the central role of adopting a healthier lifestyle of both diet and regular exercise as a viable treatment to help individuals cope with low moods.

Lastly, these researchers understand that there might be a possibility of an indirect link between diet and mental health. Therefore, there is a need for research to be conducted on the benefits of a healthy diet on physical health, as a healthier diet could lead to reductions in obesity, inflammation or general fatigue, all of which could affect mental health as well. Ultimately this research provides a new avenue of treatment for low moods, that overall could also benefit physical health, and is sustainable in the long term.

Category(s):Depression, Health Psychology

Source material from Medical News Today

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