Depression is one of the most complex mental health conditions, which usually affects people aged 35 to 59. It is very common for people living with depression to experience extremely negative, and at times, suicidal thoughts. Although the exact causes of depression are not known, some people can get depression while battling serious diseases such as cancer. Meanwhile, some people may fall into depression due to sudden life changes like troubled relationships, death of a loved one, and so on. In a few cases, depression can also be hereditary. 

Triggers for Depression

Obesity and depression are interdependent. People with depression often end up opting for unhealthy eating habits and an imbalanced sedentary lifestyle. Over-consumption of caffeine, alcohol, packaged foods, sugar-based products, etc. is directly linked with increasing the chances of depression. That’s why obese people are much likelier to fall into depression. As well, depression causes people to get obese as they are not able to manage their weight. 

Can diet be a cause of depression?

A recently concluded research about depression states that diet could be one of the major regulators of depression. The research successfully established a strong connection between the gut and the brain in humans. A combination of poor gut health and chronic body inflammation due to an unhealthy diet could give rise to depression. Leading researchers in the gut-brain connection, John Cryan and Dr. Ted Dinan state that routinely run tests demonstrate that the microbiota (i.e. culture of living organisms present in the gut) of the patients with depression were comparatively lesser than that of non-depressed people. They also pointed out that just like the rest of our bodies, even our brain is powered by the nutrients supplied to it. If adequate nourishing food is not fed, our body can encounter serious malfunctioning like depression. 

How can diet help you curb depression?

A dietary pattern that includes a high intake of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, olive oil, low-fat dairy products, antioxidants, and low intake of meat, must be opted for avoiding risks of depression. Let’s see what are the roles and functions of basic nutrients in alleviating depression. 

Antioxidants – Help reduce cell damage, aging, and other problems. Foods such as dark chocolate, contain flavonoids and plant-based nutrients that work to enhance mood and mental wellbeing.

Carbohydrates – Fresh fruits, vegetables, and legumes are packed with healthy complex carbs and fiber that are linked with mood-boosting chemicals called serotonin. Simple carbs-based foods like white bread, white rice, sugary foods, and artificial fruit juices should be avoided. 

Proteins – Beans, peas, low-fat cheese, milk, poultry, soy products, white meat, and yogurt are rich in proteins. They carry energy boosters and tryptophan that helps create serotonin.

Vitamins – Vitamin-rich foods like eggs, beans, nuts, fruits, whole grains, white meat, seafood, and green leafy vegetables contain folate that curbs mood-swings, and averting risks of depression. 

A healthy and balanced diet not only protects against physical illnesses but also helps keep mental disorders at bay. Hence, it is important to be mindful of food intake to achieve a healthy mental state and fight depression with lifestyle modification and a balanced diet.