If you constantly have a bad mood or you’re mildly depressed, then changing your diet might be the thing you need to do. Yeah, this info is not earth-shattering, but a new study gives us hope.
A randomized controlled trial found that the symptoms of depression dropped significantly in the young adults who took part. The results were published in the journal PLOS ONE. This is obviously for cases of mild depression and not the clinical condition, which requires a whole other set of care. But this trial found evidence that changing your diet, limiting the intake of highly processed foods as much as possible and, most of all, having plenty of fruits and vegetables can help reduce the symptoms of depression.
Changing your diet may improve mood after 3 weeks
So beyond fruits and vegetables, what did the participants eat? They followed a Mediterranean diet pattern of eating for just three weeks. After that, participants scored their depression at a “normal” level, as opposed to the “moderate” they felt they were on before. The participants also found that they felt less stressed or anxious after changing their diet.
“We were quite surprised by the findings,” researcher Heather Francis, a lecturer in clinical neuropsychology at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, told NPR. “I think the next step is to demonstrate the physiological mechanism underlying how diet can improve depression symptoms,” she added.
At the same time, the control group of participants who did not make any changes in their diets also did not note any changes in their moods. They kept on eating processed foods, things full of refined carbs and items loaded with sugar. They continued to have a “moderate severity” when it came to their depression symptoms.
Of course, anybody who has been misfortunate enough to experience depression symptoms knows that it’s these same symptoms, like lack of energy and loss of appetite, that make healthy eating hard and changing your diet effectively that much harder. But I think it’s safe to say that every little step counts. Start by adding a piece of fruit to your grocery cart and go from there.