How is your diet related to your mental health?

Worldwide, more than 300 million people are living with depression. Without effective treatment, this condition can noticeably interfere with work and relationships with family and friends.

Depression can cause sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, and a lack of interest in activities that are normally enjoyable. In extreme cases, it can even lead to suicide.

Depression has long been treated with medication and talking therapy, but a daily routine such as healthy eating can also play an important role in treating and even preventing depression.

So, what should you eat and what should you avoid to stay in a good mood?

Give up fast food

Research shows that while a healthy diet can reduce the risk of developing depression or the severity of its symptoms, unhealthy diets can increase the risk.

Of course, everyone eats junk food from time to time. But if your diet is high in energy (kilojoules) and low in nutrition, it’s an unhealthy diet. So, the products whose consumption is recommended to be limited:

– semi-finished products

– fried food

– butter

– salt

– potatoes

– refined grains – for example, in white bread, pasta, cakes and pastries

– sweet drinks and snacks

On average, people consume 19 servings of unhealthy foods per week, and far fewer servings of fiber-rich fresh foods and whole grains than recommended. As a result, we often overeat, undereat and feel bad.

What foods should you eat?

A healthy diet means eating a variety of nutritious foods every day, which should primarily include:

fruits (two servings a day)

– vegetables (five servings)

– whole grains

– nuts

– legumes

– a small amount of olive oil

– water

How does healthy food help?

A healthy diet is rich in foods, each of which improves our mental health in their own way.

Complex carbohydrates found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains help. Complex carbohydrates release glucose slowly, unlike simple carbohydrates (in sugary snacks and drinks) which cause energy spikes and drops throughout the day on our psychological well-being.

The antioxidants in bright fruits and vegetables scavenge free radicals and lower and reduce inflammation in the brain. This, in turn, increases the content of beneficial chemicals in the brain, which.

The B vitamins found in some vegetables increase the production of brain-healthy chemicals and reduce the risk of developing and.

What happens when you switch to a healthy diet?

An Australian research team conducted with the participation of 56 people with depression. During a 12-week period, 31 participants were given nutritional counseling and were asked to switch from an unhealthy diet to a healthy one. The remaining 25 attended social support sessions and ate as usual. During the study, participants continued to take antidepressants and receive talk therapy sessions. At the end of the trial, the symptoms of depression in the group that maintained a healthier diet improved significantly. In 32% of participants, they weakened so much that they no longer met the criteria for depression. In the second group, the same progress was observed only in 8% of participants.

This has been replicated by another research group that found similar results, backed by a review of all studies on dietary patterns and depression. According to 41 studies, people who ate a healthy diet had a 24-35% lower risk of developing symptoms of depression than those who ate more unhealthy foods.

So, everything indicates that the mental state directly depends on the quality of nutrition. The more healthy food you eat, the lower your risk of developing depression!

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