How Food Affects Your Mood: The Link Between Food and Depression

Depression is a mental health condition that affects more than 120 million people worldwide. Depression can cause brutal suffering, and existing treatments are far from perfect.

However, new research suggests the answer may be as simple as what you eat. Recent studies have confirmed a strong link between the foods we eat and the likelihood of developing depression from your diet.

Natural News reports:

In 2012, scientists from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the University of Granada studied almost 9,000 participants who had never before been diagnosed with depression. The half-year study, published in the journal Public Health Nutrition, clearly revealed that people who ate fast foods, fried foods and commercially baked pastry products were 51% more likely to develop depression diet compared to those that didn’t.

Almudena Sanchez-Villegas, lead author of the study, strongly encouraged people to avoid cakes, croissants, doughnuts, etc., as well as common fast foods such as hamburgers, hotdogs and the like. She said, “Even eating small quantities is linked to a significantly higher chance of developing depression.”

The researchers speculate that trans fats and saturated fats were the biggest problem, because trans fats trigger inflammation in both the body and brain. Inflammation can interfere with our brain’s neurotransmitters, thus affecting our mood.

Andrew Weil, M.D., says that, “I’m convinced that depression diet may represent just one manifestation of increased inflammation throughout the body. The fats in junk foods may well contribute to depression diet because they are pro-inflammatory.”

Other culprits include:

  • Herbicides
  • Pesticides
  • Fungicides
  • Antibiotics
  • Nitrates
  • Preservatives
  • Artificial colors/flavors
  • Synthetic hormones
  • Genetically modified food
  • Irradiated food
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Processed food
  • Simple sugars
  • Carbohydrates and refined grains

More Studies Confirm Food-Depression Link

A 5-year study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry compared two groups of participants who followed starkly different diets. One group “enjoyed” a diet high in processed meats, sugary desserts, fried foods, chocolate, and refined cereal and high fat dairy. The other group ate mostly fruit, vegetables, and fish. The first group was 58% more likely to be depressed! depression diet

A 2010 study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found a direct correlation between the consumption of processed foods and the incidence of depression and anxiety.

How to Avoid a “Depression Diet”

Health-conscious experts and integrative health practitioners recommend a diet rich in whole, clean, natural foods. Many experts strongly emphasize the importance of organic foods not only to help avoid chemical pesticides and herbicides, but also because organic farming practices produce more nutritious and nutrient dense foods.

Many health experts also support the use of high-quality supplements that contain plenty of B vitamins and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.

Nearly all experts recommend basing your diet on anti-inflammatory foods including…

  • Fresh vegetables
  • Fresh fruits
  • Whole grains
  • Healthy fats and oils such as olive oil and coconut oil
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