As Anxiety and depression become the most common mental health conditions in the world today, it is important to learn ways to prevent them or to cope up with them.
In light of current studies by the World Health Organization (WHO), depression could be one of the top health concerns in the world by 2030. According to many studies, diet can affect one’s mental health, too. Nutritional psychiatry is an emerging field of study particularly studying the role of nutrition in the treatment of mental health problems. Researchers continue to seek healthier ways to lessen the impact of mental health conditions, rather than depending on therapies and medications available currently.
Several observational studies have been performed to understand the link. These studies revealed high intakes of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, fish, low-fat dairy, and antioxidants, as well as low intakes of animal foods, were associated with a reduced risk of depression. Recently, a study surveying adults over the age of 50 years saw a connection between greater levels of anxiety and diets high in saturated fat and added sugars. surprisingly researchers noted similar findings in kids and teenagers. Studies conducted in 2019 found that a high intake of healthy foods, such as olive oil, fish, nuts, legumes, dairy products, fruits, and vegetables reduces the risk of depression during adolescence.
Various studies including SMILES TRIAL, the first randomized controlled trials revealed diets similar to a Mediterranean diet which emphasized vegetables, fruits, whole grains, oily fish, extra virgin olive oil, legumes, and raw nuts, and moderate amounts of red meat and dairy helps in reducing depression and anxiety tendencies in a person.
However, it is necessary to keep in mind that while observational studies can show a relation, they cannot establish cause and effect. The studies into whether a good diet can help treat mental health problems are comparatively new and still quite limited. It is, therefore, challenging to draw substantial conclusions from the existing body of research, especially as the type of dietary intervention under investigation has differed hugely among studies. Overall, more research is needed on the topic of particular dietary patterns and the treatment of mental health conditions. In short, there is a need to find a regulated definition between a healthy diet and one’s mental well being.