How Much Impact Does Food Have On Depression Symptoms?

How Much Impact Does Food Have On Depression Symptoms?

The National Institute Mental Health reports that approximately 6.7% of the United States population has experienced a depressive episode over the past year. Research has proven that an unhealthy diet filled with poor food choices is associated with severe depression symptoms. Consuming high quality food that is full of nutrients and low in fats will help improve mood disorders, like depression.

Overall, Americans eat less than the recommended amounts of vegetables, fruits, and whole-grains. Research is now finding that a highly nutritious diet is extremely beneficial for the body and brain but not enough people are taking this matter seriously. Unfortunately, The Centers for Disease Control projects that depression will be ranked as the second leading cause of disability in the United States by the year 2020. It’s important that we all start paying close attention to what we eat, and not just for our physical health, but our mental health as well.

What’s the connection?

The link between food habits and depression is commonly misunderstood and even ignored. However, a recent study results from Australia and New Zealand assessed 166 patients with depression and only half received an improved diet intervention in combination with psychotherapy. By study end, results confirmed that improvement dietary interventions have great potential to combat mental health.

Although there is no specific diet that has been scientifically proven to prevent or eliminate depression symptoms, making small changes to your everyday meal habits can make a difference. A few foods that help beat depression symptoms are:

  • Dark leafy greens: Greens like spinach, kale, or Swiss Chard are very good inflammation fighters.

  • Walnuts: The main attribute of this food is its richness in Omega-3 Fatty Acids which makes it a natural mood booster.

  • Avocado: The oleic acid contained within the avocado gives a considerable brainpower

  • Berries: They provide a wealth of cell-repairing antioxidants.

  • Mushrooms: Can be a very powerful tool to lower blood sugar.

  • Onions: Provides allium that helps fighting cancer.

  • Tomatoes: This food is packed with depression fighters such as folic and alpha-lipoic acids.

  • Beans: Fiber is found with a more than satisfying amount in beans; it is a mood stabilizer.

  • Seeds: Despite their tiny size, they are a huge source of Omega-3s.

  • Apples: Both antioxidants and fiber can be found in apples.

The challenge is to learn if the foods you are consuming are causing your daily mood to improve or worsen. If you want to find out if your food choices are causing depressive symptoms, trying to cut out the following:

  • Sugar

  • Artificial sweeteners

  • Alcohol

  • Hydrogenated oils

  • Fast food

  • Trans fats

  • High-sodium foods

  • Caffeine

Many of the items listed above can be found in the foods we eat everyday. However, many of them are hidden in unhealthy options like processed foods and most sweet beverages. Consuming these types of foods every so often will not make you directly experience depression symptoms but it’s extremely important to consume them in moderation.

Additional Options

There is a chance that diet modification alone is not enough to treat depression. Therefore, patients can talk to their doctor about other treatment options such as, medication and psychotherapy. An additional choice available to patients is transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). TMS is a highly effective and FDA approved treatment option for depression. The non-invasive procedure uses magnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells in the regions of the brain that control mood and behavior.

TMS Neuro Institute use transcranial magnetic stimulation in Los Angeles to treat various forms of depression, including treatment resistant depression. To schedule a consultation, call 888.823.4867 or book an appointment online here.