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Controlled Trial Study Shows Healthy Foods Reduce Depression

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

antidepressant foods

Story at-a-glance -

  • Accumulating evidence is highlighting the strong link between what you eat and how you feel, both mentally and physically
  • Researchers from Macquarie University, Australia, studied 76 students between the ages of 17 and 35 who followed a poor diet and had moderate to high levels of depression symptoms
  • One group of participants was asked to improve their diets by cutting back on refined carbohydrates, sugar, processed meats and soft drinks, while eating more vegetables, fruits, dairy products, nuts, seeds, healthy fats and anti-inflammatory spices such as turmeric and cinnamon
  • After only three weeks of healthier eating, those in the healthy diet group had significant improvements in mood and their depression scores even went into the normal range
  • Anxiety scores also reduced significantly, while the control group, which didn’t change their diet, experienced no changes in depressive symptoms or anxiety

What you eat affects your mood and, beyond that, is powerful enough to influence symptoms of depression for better or for worse. Globally, healthy diets have shifted to diets that favor processed foods and refined sugars, and the burden of depression has also risen worldwide, with 300 million people affected.

Depression among adolescents is also on the rise, increasing by 30% in the last 10 years, but research suggests that changing eating habits, even for a short period of time, can lead to lasting improvements in symptoms among young adults, making dietary changes a key factor in relieving depression.

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