If you think about nutrition at all–and I’m pretty sure that you must–then you’re aware of the positive impact of a healthy diet on the human body: lower risk of disease, fewer illnesses and a good body weight. What you may not know–but you probably at least suspect–is that healthy food choices can influence your mental health as well. Now, new research published in BMC Medicine goes a long way to back up your numerous suspicions.
In their rather large study that examined over 15,000 people over a ten-year period, researchers were able to find a link between a healthy diet–defined as one high in fruits, nuts, veggies, legumes and low in processed meats and sweets–and a decrease in likelihood of developing depression. These possible depression-dampening effects were attributed to the nutritional properties of omega-3’s, vitamins and minerals.
All participants in the study were depression-free at the outset and were asked to adhere to one of three healthy diets: the Mediterranean Diet, the Pro-vegetarian Dietary Pattern and Alternative Healthy Eating Index-2010. Over the years, they filled out surveys that monitored how well they adhered to their diet of choice.
After several years, a total of 1,550 participants reported depression or had been treated for it. What the researchers found was that those who adhered to a healthy diet were less likely to have suffered from depression, and those who switched from an unhealthy diet to a healthy diet saw the greatest depression-deflecting benefits which plateaued after sticking to the diet plan for awhile. Strict or very strict adherence to a diet plan didn’t seem to confer additional advantages. (You can, it seems, live a little).
The Alternative Healthy Eating Index-2010 was associated with the greatest reduction of risk of depression but most of the effect could be explained by its similarity with the Mediterranean Diet. Thus, common nutrients and food items such as omega-3 fatty acids, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and moderate alcohol intake present in both patterns (Alternative Healthy Eating Index-2010 and Mediterranean diet) could be responsible for the observed reduced risk in depression associated with a good adherence to the Alternative Healthy Eating Index-2010.
The AIM Companies offers a fun and convenient way to get your vitamins and nutrients through its whole food juice concentrates made from all-natural food products like the green leaves of young barley grass, beets, and carrots. The Garden Trio–a mixture of RediBeets, Just Carrots and BarleyLife–supplies a rich mix of antioxidants, nutrients, minerals and enzymes that tastes great, supplies your body with a jolt of garden-fresh nutrition and keeps that smile on your face.