Healthy diet can reduce the symptoms of depression

All types of dietary improvement appeared to have equal effects on mental health.


According to a new study by the University of Manchester, dietary improvement significantly reduces symptoms of depression, even in people without diagnosed depressive disorders.

Dr. Joseph Firth, an Honorary Research fellow at The University of Manchester and Research Fellow at NICM Health Research Institute at Western Sydney University, said, “The overall evidence for the effects of diet on mood and mental well-being had up to now yet to be assessed.”

“But our recent meta-analysis has done just that, showing that adopting a healthier diet can boost peoples’ moods. However, it has no clear effects on anxiety.”

The examination consolidated data from 16 randomized controlled preliminaries that inspected the impacts of dietary medications on the side effects of depression and anxiety.

Sixteen qualified preliminaries with result information for 45,826 members were incorporated, most of which inspected tests with non-clinical depression.

The investigation found that a wide range of dietary enhancements seemed to effectively affect psychological well-being, with weight loss, fat reduction, or nutrient-enhancing diet less all having comparable advantages for depressive manifestations.

Dr. Firth said, “This is actually good news. The similar effects from any type of dietary improvement suggest that highly specific or specialized diets are unnecessary for the average individual. Instead, just making simple changes is equally beneficial for mental health. In particular, eating more nutrient-dense meals which are high in fiber and vegetables, while cutting back on fast foods and refined sugars, appears to be sufficient for avoiding the potentially negative psychological effects of a ‘junk food’ diet.”

Dr. Brendon Stubbs, a co-author of the study and Clinical Lecturer at the NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre and King’s College London, added: “Our data add to the growing evidence to support lifestyle interventions as an important approach to tackle low mood and depression.

“Specifically, our results within this study found that when dietary interventions were combined with exercise, a greater improvement in depressive symptoms was experienced by people. Taken together, our data really highlight the central role of eating a healthier diet and taking regular exercise to act as a viable treatment to help people with low mood.”

Dr. Firth added: “We’re not yet sure why not know why some of our data showed significantly greater benefits from diets for women. So more research is needed on this. And we also need to establish how the benefits of a healthy diet are related to improvements in physical health.”

“It could be through reducing obesity, inflammation, or fatigue—all of which are linked to diet and impact upon mental health. And further research is still required to examine the effects of dietary interventions in people with clinically diagnosed psychiatric conditions.”

The study is published in Psychosomatic Medicine.


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