It’s fruits, vegetables and whole grains galore!
What does food have to do with mental wellbeing? As eating habits are commonly associated with physical illnesses, most people are unaware of the connection between nutrition and depression. Turns out, nutrition plays an important role in your mental and emotional wellness!
Depression is a common condition that affects many adults in Singapore. It’s associated with symptoms such as sadness and anxiety. A study from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago revealed that a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and whole grains is associated with lower rates of depression over time.
Also known as the DASH diet, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, this eating plan limits foods that are high in saturated fats and sugar. Such a diet is often followed by individuals who would like to lower their high blood pressure, bad cholesterol and weight.
The researchers have noticed an increasing number of older people being diagnosed with depression. This diet is, therefore, an effective way to reduce your chances of being diagnosed with this common disease in your older years.
To help with their study, the researchers carried out annual checks on 964 participants with an average age of 81 for about six years. They followed the eating habits of the participants closely and gathered their results after the end of the study trial.
The participants were divided into 3 groups, based on how closely they followed the DASH diet. The top group was reported to follow the DASH diet most closely while the last group did not adhere strictly to the diet, often lapsing into the Western diet with plenty of saturated fats and minimal fruits and vegetables.
The researchers concluded that the participants in the top group were 11% less likely to become depressed, as compared to the last group.
The DASH diet includes items like whole grains, lean meats, fish, poultry, nuts and legumes as well as plenty of fruits and vegetables. It restricts items that are high in fat and sugar.
Although further research is required on the individual food items that directly prevent depression, this study proves that following a clean-eating schedule is the best way to keep our bodies and minds healthy.