Foods that Fight Depression

New research into the links between diet and depression yields good advice for eating foods that fight depression.

| May/June 2014

  • Woman Washing Carrots for Healthier Eating
    Research shows that eating a healthy diet can decrease risk of developing clinical depression.
    Photo by StockFood

  • Woman Washing Carrots for Healthier Eating

Did you know that how we eat can have long-term effects on how we feel? When having a bad day, it’s easy to turn to junk food for comfort, but the evidence suggests that we feel better when sticking to a long-term plan of healthy eating. In fact, doing so can decrease the risk of developing clinical depression.

New evidence for this idea comes from a recent study published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, which found correlations between an inflammatory diet pattern and a higher risk of depression—up to 41 percent!

It’s good news that dietary changes could help prevent depression because this health issue affects millions of people: one in 10 U.S. adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The numbers are even higher for women. Some estimates place a woman’s lifetime risk for experiencing depression as high as one in five.

According to this study, people benefit from eating more foods that prevent inflammation (such as olive oil), and fewer foods that cause it (such as white flour). For a complete list of foods that fight depression, see the two lists later in this article.

Diet and Depression: The Anti-Inflammatory Diet

If you haven’t heard much yet about inflammation as a health problem, that’s probably about to change (in fact, we are addressing this major health concern in our next issue). Recent research has linked chronic, low-level inflammation to a wide variety of health problems including not only depression, but also heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and more.

This type of inflammation is caused by our immune systems reacting to various stresses; while some inflammation helps the body fight disease, excessive inflammation can cause problems, and a poor diet contributes to the problem.

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