A lot of us think of our looks and appearance when we choose food every day. Another factor that we need to consider in choosing the right foods is its effect on our mental health.
Many pieces of research implied that food doesn’t only affect our bodies, but it also affects our emotions, mood, and even long-term conditions like depression. The brains on our heads are real things that run on calories that we put in our bodies, affected by blood sugar levels, shifts in hormones, and a few other processes.
The data report can shed some light on some unanswered questions when choosing the right snack. We know that whole-food choices with a lot of vegetables, fruits, and unprocessed meat can brighten our moods and guard us against depression while eating preserved, sweet, and junk foods can risk our mental health.
Diet to Avoid Depression
A research team has experimented with nearly 46,000 participants. The test is that they prescribed a few menus to increase the intake of nutrients, decrease the amount of fat intake, and even make some participants be in a caloric deficit to encourage weight loss. One group chose to go vegan, while others chose a caloric deficit diet, and some decided to have hefty portions of vegetables and fruits while avoiding processed food and meat. Some people took nutrition classes while others got personalized menus from nutritionists from their counseling sessions. The participants went on a diet from a couple of weeks to a couple of years.
Choosing a healthier lifestyle leads to a decrease in symptoms of depression, insomnia, hopelessness, and disconnection from other people in contrast to doing activities focused on self-improvement.
People that Benefit from Eating Healthy
One study was done with 67 people experiencing depression from bad diets. Half of the participants were told to follow a Mediterranean-style diet favoring vegetables and fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, legumes, fish, nuts, chicken, lean red meat, eggs, and olive oil. While reducing sugar, fried and fast food, refined grains, sugary drinks, and processed meats. In 12 weeks, these participants attended seven sessions to stay motivated and set diet goals with a dietician. They also received a hamper of food, meal plans, and recipes.
The remaining half also attended sessions with the same schedule. They spent time with an assistant talking about hobbies and sports, playing games or topics that they are interested in for an hour.
The results are the first group had reduced their anxiety and depression, and they were four times more unlikely to experience depression again. The more reduction in depression happened when the group improved their diet more.
Diet for Well-Being
As far as mental health goes, we should focus on having the perfect diet, but instead, we should make healthy and sustainable eating habits. It is critical to stick to a healthy diet rather than hope to follow the perfect diet that is possibly unappetizing to some people.