Recent study concludes that eating a healthy, Mediterranean-style diet can improve even severe depression symptoms
For holiday blues, you may be able to eat your way to less depression – if you eat right.
“These results highlight the important role of nutrition for the treatment of depression and should inform advice given by clinicians….”— Jessica Bayes, Ph.D., University of Technology Sydney
WASHINGTON, DC, US, December 22, 2022/ EINPresswire.com / -- Reaching for healthier foods during the holidays is not only good for the waistline and overall health, but can be quite beneficial in treating depression, recent research has indicated.
Focusing on young adult males, who were expected to be resistant to dietary changes, Australian researchers conducted a 12-week study in which 72 males aged 18 to 25 who had moderate to severe depression and poor diets were encouraged to eat a healthy Mediterranean-style diet, with higher levels of vegetables, fruit, fish, whole grains, olive oil, nuts and legumes. A control group was given social support only.
The results, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed a substantial improvement of depression symptoms in the group that changed their diet, with one-third (36%) of them experiencing a full remission of their depression. There were also improvements in their energy, sleep, and quality of life.
“These results highlight the important role of nutrition for the treatment of depression and should inform advice given by clinicians to this specific demographic population,” wrote lead author Jessica Bayes, Ph.D., of the University of Technology Sydney.
A growing body of evidence also supports the idea that the quality of a diet can increase or decrease the odds of developing depression in the first place, with diets rich in plant foods and lean proteins linked to a lower risk of depression, while diets with more processed and sugary foods are associated with a higher risk of depression.
Eating a healthy meal with trusted family or friends can also reduce the odds of becoming depressed, according to a 2020 study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, which found that trusted social connections are protective against developing depression, even for individuals deemed at-risk for depression due to earlier trauma they experienced. Various forms of vigorous exercise and getting enough sleep were other top factors associated with a lowered risk of depression.
These studies indicate that relatively easy lifestyle changes may both prevent depression and be effective non-drug treatments for depression. Some 45 million Americans are currently prescribed antidepressant drugs for depression, which carry the risk of harmful side effects that include insomnia, emotional dulling, sexual dysfunction, anxiety, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, loss of judgment, and the impulsivity and mania that can lead to violence and suicidal thoughts and actions.
The rationale for prescribing antidepressants – to correct a supposed chemical imbalance in the brain – has been questioned by researchers who conducted a comprehensive review, which for the first time integrated all relevant research, to evaluate whether scientific evidence supported the theory that a low level of the brain chemical serotonin caused depression.
“The serotonin theory of depression has been one of the most influential and extensively researched biological theories of the origins of depression,” wrote lead author Joanna Moncrief in Molecular Psychiatry in July. “Our study shows that this view is not supported by scientific evidence. It also calls into question the basis for the use of antidepressants.”
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) recommends a complete physical examination with lab tests, nutritional and allergy screenings, and a review of all current medications to identify any physical causes of depression or other unwanted mental and emotional symptoms, which might otherwise be misdiagnosed and incorrectly treated as a psychiatric disorder.
CCHR continues to raise public awareness of the risks of serious side effects and withdrawal symptoms from antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs, so that consumers and their physicians can make fully informed decisions about starting or stopping the drugs. CCHR supports safe and science-based non-drug approaches to mental health.
WARNING: Anyone wishing to discontinue or change the dose of an antidepressant or other psychiatric drug is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a physician because of potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights was co-founded in 1969 by members of the Church of Scientology and the late psychiatrist and humanitarian Thomas Szasz, M.D., recognized by many academics as modern psychiatry’s most authoritative critic, to eradicate abuses and restore human rights and dignity to the field of mental health. CCHR has been instrumental in obtaining 228 laws against psychiatric abuses and violations of human rights worldwide.
The CCHR National Affairs Office in Washington, DC, has advocated for mental health rights and protections at the state and federal level. The CCHR traveling exhibit, which has toured 441 major cities worldwide and educated over 800,000 people on the history to the present day of abusive and racist psychiatric practices, has been displayed at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, DC, and at other locations.
Citizens Commission on Human Rights, National Affairs Office
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