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2011-10-24

Healthy Diet Reduces Risk of Depression & Anxiety

It really amazes me the lack of common sense sometimes in "educated" populations. Whoever says diet doesn't have an effect on health has gone completely sideways. Dermatologists are the worst for this. I don't know how many times I've heard them say that acne has no relationship to diet. Does that even make sense?! Your diet affects E...VER...Y...THING.

Anyway, here is a new study that backs this up for depression and anxiety. This cross-sectional study included 5731 men and women aged 46-49 and 70-74 years.

After adjustments for confounding variables (including age, education, income, physical activity, smoking, and alcohol consumption), a healthy diet was inversely related to depression and anxiety.

The authors conclude, "in this study, those with better quality diets were less likely to be depressed, whereas a higher intake of processed and unhealthy foods was associated with increased anxiety" 

This growing body of evidence hints at the possibility of dietary approach to preventing and treating common mental illnesses, including depression and anxiety. At this time, only about 30% of patients with depression respond to antidepressant medication, and a similar proportion respond to psychotherapy, claims the study's author.

She continues, "Given that the majority of mental health problems start before age 25, and the enormous burden of illness of depression and anxiety in young people, and given that nutrition is so critical to adequate development, we think these data have enormous significant implications for public health."

The same research team has applied for funding to conduct a randomized controlled trial of diet and mental health outcomes.

"So far we know exercise is a very effective treatment strategy for depression, but we have yet to determine whether dietary improvement is an effective treatment strategy," she said. However, she added, even in the absence of intervention studies, it is not too soon for physicians to raise the issue of diet with patients suffering from anxiety and depression.

...common sense.


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