Eating right for depression can make a difference: Certain foods have a positive effect on mood. This alone does not promise a cure, but depression and nutrition are related. Which foods can help in the fight against low mood?
Researchers keep observing the big role diet plays in depression. Eating healthy, varied, and nutritious food not only has a positive effect on the human body, but also mood. That doesn’t mean that depression can be prevented or even cured with the right foods. However, the right diet for depression can have a positive effect on the course of the disease.
Nutrition in depression: the psyche eats with it
For example, a study conducted at Australia’s Deakin University found that with the right diet, even clinical depression can be counteracted. For three months, the diet plan of the depressed subjects consisted primarily of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, lean meat, olive oil, and nuts. The participants had previously eaten rather unhealthily and one-sidedly. After the observation period, the subjects showed significantly less severe depression symptoms than at the beginning of the study. In contrast, in the control group, which continued to eat fast food, there was no improvement in symptoms.
The fact that the right diet helps with depression is not only because vegetables and the like are good for muscles, cells, and organs such as the heart. With a view to the human mood, the focus is primarily on the right nutrients. To put it bluntly, some foods fight depression.
When it comes to nutrition against depression, the focus is on certain neurotransmitters – messenger substances that pass on stimuli between the nerve cells and thus influence a person’s mood and behavior. These include the happiness hormones dopamine and serotonin as well as norepinephrine and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA for short). In the case of depression or a depressive mood, the production of just those neurotransmitters is out of balance, which makes it useful to counteract this with the right diet.
Diet in depression: Important, but not a replacement for therapy
Although nutrition and depression are scientifically proven to be intertwined, no depression – or any other mental illness – can be cured by an optimal nutritional plan alone. The right diet for depression always only has a supporting effect to positively influence the course of the disease. Anyone who suffers from a permanently low mood should always consult an expert and, if in doubt, start psychotherapy.