A diet rich in fiber and vegetables can relieve depression

A healthful diet can “significantly reduce” symptoms of depression. That’s the definitive conclusion from a meta-analysis of existing randomized, clinical trials.

woman contemplating vegetables
Adding more vegetables to your diet can significantly boost mood, especially for women, a new study concludes.

Researchers have long suspected that a poor diet can lead to poor mental health. Although the underpinnings of mental health problems are complex, some scientists have suggested that “diet is as important to psychiatry as it is to cardiology, endocrinology, and gastroenterology.”

But does the overall existing evidence support this claim? Dr. Joseph Firth, an Honorary Research fellow at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, led scientists who set out to investigate.

Dr. Firth and colleagues note that, while poor diet can impact mental health negatively, this does not automatically mean that improving one’s diet can ease symptoms of depression and anxiety.

So, to establish definitively whether a better diet can improve mood disorders, the scientists examined data on nearly 46,000 people and published their results in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

Mediterranean diet tied to lower risk of depressionMediterranean diet tied to lower risk of depression
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The analysis revealed that every kind of dietary improvement “significantly reduced depressive symptoms.” However, the dietary changes did not affect anxiety.

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