How a Healthy Diet Can Prevent Depression

Wednesday, December 09, 2009 by: Fleur Hupston
Tags: depression, diet, health news

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(NaturalNews) The World Health Organization predicts that depression will become the second highest cause of the global disease burden by 2020. Why is this? Many people consume a diet high in bad fats, fried, refined and sugary foods. Studies show that such a diet can certainly increase the risk of depression. When that happens, an individual will usually make an appointment to see a doctor who typically ends up prescribing anti-depressants, resulting in potential long term mental and physical health problems. It is a fact that a diet high in vegetables, fruits, and fish helps to prevent depression.

According to the findings of a study conducted by researchers between 1985 to 2004, the results of which have been published by the British Journal of Psychiatry, scientists have concluded that there is a definite relationship between poor dietary choices and depression. Based on these published results, health advocates in Britain will soon be recommending diets high in unprocessed foods specifically to prevent depression.

What Foods Contribute to Depression?

What humans eat controls the levels of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, which regulate behavior. Neurotransmitters are closely linked to mood.

Studies show that the neurotransmitters most commonly associated with mood are dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. When the brain produces serotonin, tension is eased and a person may feel happier. When it produces dopamine or norepinephrine, individuals tend to be more alert and tend to think and act more quickly.

Eating fresh fruit and vegetables raises the level of trytophan in the brain thereby increasing serotonin production which has a calming effect. High protein foods, on the other hand, promote the production of dopamine and norepineprine, which promote alertness.

Eating junk, sugary foods reduces the levels of these hormones in the brain, thereby increasing stress and tension, and reducing joy and alertness.

Mediterranean Diet - Helps Prevent Depression

The Mediterranean diet, as described by Dr. Sanchez-Villegas, has nine main components:

1.High ratio of monounsaturated fatty acids to saturated fatty acids;
2.High intake of legumes
3.High intake fruit and nuts
4.High intake of cereals
5.High intake of vegetables
6.High intake of fish
7.Moderate intake of alcohol
8.Moderate intake dairy products
9.Low intake of meat

In his research, Dr. Sanchez-Villegas wrote that the diet "was thought to reduce inflammatory, vascular, and metabolic processes" that may be involved in the risk of clinical depression.

In contrast to the Standard American Diet (SAD), the diet of the Mediterranean people includes primarily fresh, seasonal vegetables and freshly caught fish rather than canned or imported produce. The diet eliminates fried foods that have been cooked or baked in rancid vegetable oils or trans fats.

Akbaraly, TN., Dietary pattern and Depressive Symptoms in Middle Age, British Journal of Psychiatry, November, 2009.

About the author

Fleur Hupston is a professional freelance writer. She is passionate about natural, healthy living and is currently studying to be a naturopath. She divides her time between writing for Natural News and various other sites, home schooling her children and studying part time.

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