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There are enough research articles circling through cyberspace to show very strong evidence that diet and depression and profoundly linked. However, is diet a cause of depression or an aggravating factor?
Well, though there is plenty of evidence that there is an association, and that fast food increases the risk of depression (while the Mediterranean diet decreases it), most of studies do not show causality. Research experts say, “It is difficult to be sure that the diet is responsible for depression – it could be that depressed people make bad food choices.” They go on to say, “Other study problems include ‘confounders’ which may influence dietary habits, such as marital status, exercise, alcohol (or smoking), medical conditions and social networks. Or simply genetics.”
So, while unhealthy foods increase the risk of depression, it is under-researched as to whether diet can actually cause depression.
However, the researchers explained, “Depression is similar in many aspects to heart disease. Both are associated with low-grade inflammation, endothelial dysfunction and worse lipid profiles. This tends to suggest that the underlying causes, such as a diet high in trans fats, are also the same.”
With this in mind, we strongly believe that adopting healthier eating choices and enjoying a range of fresh and nutritious foods will profoundly benefit those suffering depression. Reducing trans fatty acids and sugar is a great place to start in making the changes needed to boost your feelings of happiness. Seeking advice from a natural health practitioner such as a Naturopath is highly recommended before embarking on any diet changes, not only to keep you motivated, but to ensure that you aren’t restricting anything from your diet you actually need.
Like the above research suggests, depression is a multi-faceted condition and needs to be worked through with professional help. We never recommend self-prescribing or “do-it-yourself” fixes without the support of a trained professional. Our goal is simply to highlight that there are natural and alternative options available to you.
To find out more about diet and depression, read our blog Ten Foods To Lift Your Mood here.