Thanks to the awareness about mental health, we can now have an open dialogue about depression and other mental illnesses. Depression could happen by a variety of causes; genetic, triggered by a specific event or circumstances, lifestyle choices or just stress. But ultimately, it is a disease of the brain. According to a latest research trial, the proper cure of depression can only happen if therapy, medicinal aids are coupled with proper nutrition.
Research for almost over 10 year has proven that healthy eating habits not only have an impact on physical health but also our mental health. Hence, in the future patients experiencing depression may not only be referenced to a therapist, but a nutritionist as well.
Epidemiologist, Felice Jacka from Deakin University in Australia conducted a trial and set out to measure the therapeutic impact of a healthy diet. For the study, she included 67 subjects with depression, some of whom received psychotherapy, some of whom were on anti-depressants and some with both. Half of these were given nutritional counseling, the other half were given one-on-one social support, someone to keep them company and engage in social activities with- known to help people with depression. After observing them for 12 weeks, the findings said that the group with the diet change felt significantly happier than the group that received companionship
Professor Jacka further explained, “Whole (unprocessed) diets higher in plant foods, healthy forms of protein and fats are consistently associated with better mental health outcomes. These diets are also high in fiber, which is essential for gut microbiota. We increasingly understand that the gut is really the driver of health, including mental health, so keeping fiber intake high through the consumption of plant foods is very important.”
So what should our diet consist of? Research suggests a Mediterranean-style diet made up of fruits, vegetables, extra-virgin olive oil, yogurt and cheese, nuts, whole grains, seafood and lean red meat, and eliminate fried and processed foods. The diet provides the nutrition our brain needs and supports good bacteria in the gut.