We all know about food urges—cravings for sweets or French fries or other junk food. (And yes, chocolate cravings are a real thing.) But did you know that a change in diet can help with symptoms of depression?
A recent study of 67 people with unhealthy diets who also were on antidepressants and/or were in regular psychotherapy treatment showed something remarkable. When some of them began eating a diet high in extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fatty fish and grass-fed beef, their depressive symptoms changed. In fact, after three months, almost a third of the “healthy diet” people no longer even could be diagnosed as depressed! On the other hand, those people who had continued to eat low-fiber, salty snacks, sweets, and other junk food—they showed little improvement.
The bottom line: Improving your diet can help, or even get rid of, depression.
Scientists are learning that a junky diet affects the immune system. Another study shows a link between inflammation and depression. To explain the link between inflammation and depression, a CNN Health report says this:
“One way a healthier diet may improve one’s mood is through our bodies’ immune systems. The same process by which we respond to acute injuries or threats also puts out fires initiated by our diets and lifestyles. That’s why poor diet can lead to chronic low-grade inflammation, a risk factor for noncommunicable diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and even Alzheimer’s disease. These sorts of illnesses now account for 60% of deaths worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.”
So, in a way, while cravings may make you feel crazy (that is, until you get that chocolate!), a constant diet of giving in to those cravings truly can affect your mental health. If that’s true for adults, how much more could that be true for adolescents with their already-volatile mood swings?