Depression and diet may be related. Several studies have found that people who ate a poor-quality diet — one that was high in processed meat, chocolates, sweet desserts, fried food, refined cereals and high-fat dairy products — were more likely to report symptoms of depression. The good news is that the people who ate a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fish were less likely to report being depressed.
These results are in line with other research findings that healthy diets help protect against disease. For example, studies suggest that people who follow a Mediterranean diet — which emphasizes fruits, vegetables and fish, and limits meat and dairy products — have lower rates of depression and other diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and heart disease.
More research is needed on the connection between depression and diet. In the meantime, it would be wise to cut back on the less nutritious options and make healthier choices.
Feb. 10, 2018
- Mediterranean diet. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Mediterranean-Diet_UCM_306004_Article.jsp#. Accessed Dec. 21, 2017.
- Mediterranean diet. American Academy of Family Physicians. https://familydoctor.org/mediterranean-diet/. Accessed Dec. 21, 2017.
- Jacka FN, et al. A randomised controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major depression (the 'SMILES' trial). BMC Medicine. 2017;15:23.
- Parletta N, et al. A Mediterranean-style dietary intervention supplemented with fish oil improves diet quality and mental health in people with depression: A randomized controlled trial (HELFIMED). Nutritional Neuroscience. In press. Accessed Dec. 21, 2017.