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How Dietary Intervention Lifts Depression

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

dietary intervention for depression

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  • Research has linked sweetened beverages — both sugar- and artificially-sweetened beverages — with an increased risk of depression, the highest risk being associated with diet fruit drinks and diet soda
  • Another study found adolescents who had elevated levels of sodium and low levels of potassium in their urine — two factors indicative of a diet high in junk food and processed food — had more frequent symptoms of depression
  • A 2019 study found dietary intervention can effectively treat depression in young adults. Those who ate a Mediterranean-style diet reported a significant reduction in depression symptoms after 21 days
  • A recent meta-analysis also concluded that “Dietary interventions hold promise as a novel intervention for reducing symptoms of depression across the population”
  • As a general guideline, eating a whole food diet can go a long way toward lowering your inflammation level and thus your risk of depression. A cornerstone of a healthy diet is limiting sugar of all kinds, ideally below 25 grams a day

Foods have an immense impact on your body and your brain, and eating whole foods as described in my nutrition plan is a good way to simultaneously support your mental and physical health. Avoiding sugar and artificial sweeteners is in my view, based on the evidence, a crucial aspect of preventing and/or treating depression.

Both contribute to chronic inflammation and can wreak havoc with your brain function. Recent research also shows how swapping processed junk food for a healthier diet can significantly improve depression symptoms, which really shouldn’t come as a great surprise.

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