Diet May Reduce Risk of Depression

Fruits_veggiesIt wouldn’t come as much of a surprise if research showed that certain diets benefit our physical health. But new research is pointing to something much more intriguing. A study just published in the medical journal ‘Lancet suggests the DASH diet may influence our mental health.

From CBS News:

New research suggests there’s even more reason to eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains. While past research has shown eating these foods improves heart health, new research suggests they may also help fight depression.

Now, a new study that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 70th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles in April finds the DASH diet may benefit mental health.

According to Medical News Today, “Compared with subjects who had the lowest adherence to the DASH diet, those who had the highest adherence were found to be 11 percent less likely to develop depression.”

But a Western diet was found to have the opposite effect, and the closer the subjects’ adherence to this diet — which is high in saturated fats and low in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains — the greater their risk of developing depression.

 ABC News added, “Diets like DASH and the Mediterranean Diet — another brain-healthy diet with a focus on foods like olive oil, fish and vegetables — are both rich in anti-inflammatory foods. Foods like white bread, margarine, red meat, processed meat and fried foods can cause inflammation in the body and should be eaten minimally or avoided, according to Harvard Medical School. Tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables, nuts, fish like salmon and sardines and fruits like oranges and strawberries are all foods that fight inflammation, according to Harvard’s list.”

USA Today posted a short video on its website highlighting this new research. You can watch it by clicking here or on the picture below.

DASH quoted the study’s author, Laurel Cherian, MD, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, as saying:

“Depression is common in older adults and more frequent in people with memory problems, vascular risk factors such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, or people who have had a stroke. Making a lifestyle change such as changing your diet is often preferred over taking medications, so we wanted to see if diet could be an effective way to reduce the risk of depression.”  

“Future studies are now needed to confirm these results and to determine the best nutritional components of the DASH diet to prevent depression later in life and to best help people keep their brains healthy.”

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this new study and whether you believe diet can affect our mental health. Generating interesting and meaningful conversations around the health stories making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!