The everyday diet can make a tremendous impact on a person’s well-being. Sure, the food a person chooses to ingest can play a part in their physical health, but new research is showing it also plays a role in their mental health as well. According to a piece in Psych Central, a well-rounded, healthy diet may protect against depression in middle-aged people. This finding is part of a study conducted by researchers at the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London (UCL), UK and the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM), University of Montpellier, France.
The Connection Between Diet and Depression: Understanding the Science
To bolster the idea that diet can protect against depression, scientists compared the incidence of depression among individuals who consume a diet consisting of a high proportion of fruits, vegetables and fish to that of individuals who consume a diet high in proportions of high-fat dairy food, processed meat, fried food, refined grains and sugar-laden desserts. The study included data on 3,486 individuals with an average age of 57 years. These individuals were part of the Whitehall II study. In using this data, researchers were able to identify two dietary patterns: a whole food diet and a processed food diet.
Study results revealed that a whole food diet was consistent with a 26% lower risk for depression. At the same time, a high processed diet was associated with a 58% change of depression—five years later. The researchers concluded that: “In middle-aged participants, a processed food dietary pattern is a risk factor for CES-D depression five years later, whereas a whole food pattern is protective.”
Diet, however, is just one factor for overcoming depression. To achieve recovery, comprehensive professional mental health treatment will be necessary for most people.
How Depression Treatment Works
Depression treatment is a process of psychotherapy, medications, or both to treat a person’s depressive symptoms. It helps people learn how to recognize and cope with their emotions in healthy ways. In addition, depression treatment can help them manage the day-to-day stresses of life while also addressing underlying issues that may be causing depression.
There are a variety of treatments available for depression, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), and medication. Depending on the individual’s needs, treatment may be short-term or long-term. For some clients, a combination of therapies may be used to help them better manage their symptoms.
In addition to therapy and medication, lifestyle modifications may be recommended as part of depression treatment. In addition to diet changes, these can include:
- Getting regular exercise
- Avoiding alcohol and substance use
- Getting enough restful sleep
- Connecting with friends and family members
- Limiting stressors in your life
- Practicing relaxation techniques such as mindfulness or yoga
- Engaging in hobbies that bring joy or pleasure
- Finding meaningful activities to fill your time
Depression treatment can be a long and difficult process. However, it’s possible for people to live full, productive lives with depression. With the right help and support, individuals can work toward managing their symptoms and feeling better.
Get the Help You Need From Promises Behavioral Health
Promises Behavioral Health is here to help you or your loved one manage their depression symptoms. Our expert team of mental health providers is highly trained in a variety of evidence-based therapies, such as CBT and IPT, and can work with individuals to create an individualized treatment plan that addresses the underlying causes of depression and provides strategies for managing day-to-day stress.
We also offer a range of treatment options for depression. These include medication management, individual and group therapy, couples counseling, family therapy, holistic therapies such as yoga or mindfulness, and experiential therapies like art or music therapy. At Promises Behavioral Health, we understand the importance of treating depression holistically. Consequently, we strive to provide the highest quality care available.
Are you or your loved one struggling with depression and/or an eating disorder? If so, don’t hesitate to contact Promises Behavioral Health today. Call 844.875.5609 or reach out online to get the help you need now and start the journey toward feeling better.