Community//

Junk Food Blues: How Are Depression and Diet Related?

Your diet and your mental health can be related more than you think. There are several studies that stated that people who eat a lot of meat, sweets, fried food, refined sugars and high-fat dairy are more likely to show symptoms of depression. Luckily, it can all be fixed or improved with some healthy eating […]

Junk Food Blues: How Are Depression and Diet Related?

Your diet and your mental health can be related more than you think. There are several studies that stated that people who eat a lot of meat, sweets, fried food, refined sugars and high-fat dairy are more likely to show symptoms of depression. Luckily, it can all be fixed or improved with some healthy eating habits. So, here’s how junk food affects your depression and a good clean diet can cure it.

What came first?

Depression or bad diet? What causes what? Let’s break it down. Depression is often pushing sufferers to adopt unhealthy eating habits which can result in pretty common dietary patterns associated with depression like reduced appetite, binge-eating on sugary and fatty foods and skipping meals.

These poor dietary practices further contribute to depression. So, the conclusion is that these two things feed off of each other.

Diet can also be a good indicator of your risk and levels of depression. People who often eat a lot of junk food, fat and carbs are at more risk of developing symptoms of depression. On the other hand, diets like the Mediterranean which contains a lot of vegetables, lean meat, fish, olive oil, fish and antioxidants is connected to better mood and emotion control. Plus, this diet is low in calories, so it’s a perfect choice for those trying to shed extra pounds and get into shape.

Emotional health and diet

The fact that we have an entire field of medicine dedicated to diet and emotional health, Nutritional Psychiatry, we can clearly see just how tightly connected those two things are.

Long story short, nutritional psychiatry states that what we put in our bodies matters greatly for our physical but also mental health. Sever studies and analyses conclude that diets like the Mediterranean can be used as a prescribed and self-prescribed weapon against depression.

Fuel your neurotransmitters

It’s time to get a bit technical here. In order to have good mental health, your neurotransmitters need to be well balanced (neurotransmitters are chemicals that transfer information from and to the brain). When we lack certain neurotransmitters like serotonin, it can lead to depression and other related mental issues. And, in order to keep the serotonin production high, your body needs to have plenty of appropriate nutrients at your disposal. Since many neurotransmitters are made our of amino acids from meats, fish, dairy and eggs, you should definitely include them in your diet. People who avoid eating meat and animal products might experience impaired production of serotonin and dopamine and start feeling moody, sad and depressed.

What to munch on

While there are diets specifically made for boosting one’s mental health and neurological activity, you don’t necessarily need to see an expert. If you adopt the Mediterranean way of eating (which is rich in groceries available all over the world) you can reduce many of your symptoms and alleviate your mood.

Including certain foods in your everyday diet is also beneficial for your health and can even completely cure your mood disorders.

While there are many foods great for human health, vitamins, minerals and nutrients from protein are especially important for the support of the brain. Make sure to keep your nutrients high by taking plenty of antioxidants from raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and apples. Ensure your vitamin B levels are optimal by eating at least two to three eggs a week and preparing lean meat like poultry, fish and oysters. Whole grains, avocado and milk are also rich in vitamin B.

Omega-3 fatty acids from fish, nuts and seeds will also ensure optimal brain function, especially when accompanied with selenium from whole grains, nuts, seafood and organ meats. Another thing you can add to your diet is CBD oil. If you buy your product from respectable suppliers, CBD for anxiety can be easily mixed with food and beverages you make at home. For instance, add it to your smoothie, coffee or baked goods and let it positively influence yourappetite, pain,  sleep, stress responses, mood, motivation and more.

What to avoid

Certain substances harm your mental and your physical health, so they should be eliminated from your diet. Luckily, the list isn’t huge and you can always find some healthier alternative to replace these harmful foods. If you suffer from depression, do limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine. Another “drug” that people with depression often eat too much is sugar. Minimize your intake of candy, cake and other sweets and stick to dark chocolate to satisfy your sweet tooth. Highly-processed foods, as well as high-fat dairy, should also be consumed in minimal amounts.

Eating a diet that benefits your mental health isn’t hard. All you need to do is fill your plate with plenty of veggies, lean protein and whole grains. If it’s made with too much added sugar or flour (pasta, bread, baked goods) it’s best to skip it. An occasional cheat meal will not harm you though as long as you eat clean the rest of the time. So, keep your mental health in check by controlling your diet!

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Courtesy of oneinchpunch/Shutterstock
Well-Being//

What Is the Best Diet for Mental Health?

by Kira M. Newman
Well-Being//

Research Shows This Diet Can Help Curb Depression Symptoms

by Erin Brodwin
Boris SV/ Getty Images
Well-Being//

Simplifying Your Diet Can Boost Your Mood, According to Science

by Rebecca Muller

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.