Can food affect mood? It’s a question that many people with low mood or depression have asked themselves, but until now, research has not given us many clear answers.
New study shows remarkable results
However, a recent study by an Australian researcher has demonstrated that a healthier diet can improve the symptoms of moderate to severe depression. A group of depressed people were split into two subgroups. The first group ate a slightly modified Mediterranean food diet and had consultations with a nutritionist. The second group continued to eat their normal diet and received social support via “befriending” activities.
After 12 weeks on the two regimes, people were tested to see if their depression scores had improved. The people following the modified Mediterranean diet saw substantial improvement in their depressive symptoms, and some were scored as being in remission. While there were some improvements in the group following their normal diet, they were much less marked, and a smaller number went into remission.
One of the key points about this study is that there was no attempt to limit calories in either group, so the results were not influenced by anyone’s feelings about success or failure in dieting.
The modified Mediterranean diet tends to support the consumption of fruit and vegetables, nuts, lean meat, fish, olive oil and eggs. It discourages highly refined foods, such as white flour, sugar, or foods such as processed meat. Alcohol is allowed in small quantities, preferably red wine.
This diet has been proven in many studies to improve heart health and increase longevity, so the idea that it can also improve mood is further support for its use. Certainly, unless you have a medical condition that means you have to follow a special diet, this kind of diet is very unlikely to do you any harm and will probably do you a lot of good, both physically and mentally.
Healthier snacking can help
It’s a diet that tends to exclude snacking, because so often we are snacking on unhealthy highly-refined carbohydrates, such as crisps and biscuits. If you find that you need a snack to get you through to your next meal, try gluten free snacks (http://gofitnesslifestyle.com/what-are-the-best-gluten-free-snacks-for-health/).
These snacks will not give you the sudden surge in energy, followed by a crash back, that many high carbohydrate snacks do.