A study published in October 2013 in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity shows us just how much dietary choices may matter when it comes to mood.
43,685 women, aged 50-77, who were not depressed at the start of the study, were followed for 12 years during which time they answered periodic questionnaires about their eating habits and symptoms of depression.
In the study, a strict definition of depression required both clinical diagnosis of depression and use of anti-depressant medication. A broader definition of depression required either clinical diagnosis of depression OR use of anti-depressant medication.
The study results indicated that those women eating diets high in foods that promote inflammation in the body including refined carbohydrate foods (like pasta, white rice, and bagels), red meat, margarine, and soft drinks experienced increased risk of meeting the broad definition of depression by 29% and raised their risk of being both diagnosed with clinical depression and prescribed an antidepressant medication by 41%.
If you are coping with depression, dietary changes can make a big impact. In general, choose a diet that features colorful fruits and vegetables or dark green leafy vegetables at every meal, along with lean protein (fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, nuts, beans), and healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, nuts, nut butters). Make refined and processed foods “once in a while” foods and if you enjoy them then savor them when you do eat them. Staying hydrated with plenty of water helps a lot, too.
There are other effective holistic treatment strategies for depression including hormone balancing, acupuncture, botanical medicines, and homeopathic medicines. If you need help with depression schedule a free 15-minute “Meet the Doctor” visit to learn more.