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Scientists Suggest That Improper Diet Can Cause Depression

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Scientists Suggest That Improper Diet Can Cause Depression

Depression may occur due to an improper and unhealthy diet in many people, according to latest research. In recent years, scientist conducted a variety of studies on the potential relationship between depression and improper diets. They found that nutrition has an increased effect on the human body, as well as emotional states related to depression.

Naturally Combatting the Cause of Depression

According to recent studies, diets high in fats and sugars may be a factor that causes depression in many people. These types of diets contribute to emotional and biological changes in our minds and bodies.

When we eat poorly, our bodies become deprived of essential nutrients. The human body recognizes, reacts, and regards nutrient deficiencies as a potential disease. In turn, the body releases proteins known as cytokines to try to protect the body and fight off the perceived intruder.

This natural and vital protection process is similar to how the body’s immune system works when trying to heal a physical wound that may cause inflammation. The brain receives signals when inflammation is detected.

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Chronic and extended health problems can easily turn into depression because of the negative thoughts people get when triggered by an illness. Physicians refer to this as sickness behavior, which is surprisingly similar to depression, where people are unwilling to be productive, eat well, or get out of bed.

For example, The Washington Post covered a story that included Jodi Corbett, a 47-year-old battling depression for more than twenty years. Jodi initiated an experimental diet that she believes took her off antidepressants. Jodi said she stopped eating food products containing gluten. Gluten is a protein composite found in rye, barley, wheat, and related grains. It took only one month for Jodi to rid herself of her lifelong depression and lose several pounds.

“It was like a veil lifted and I could see life more clearly. It changed everything.”

She added more about her success.

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“This was such a simple solution. I could have saved myself a lot of money and a lot of misery if someone had asked about my diet 15 years ago. My life could have been different.”

Jodi Corbett’s example is just the tip of the iceberg many researchers are exploring when it comes to food’s impact on the mind. For years, scientists focused on the mind being the essential cause of depression; however, new research has uncovered the possibility that a healthy diet can play an instrumental part in relieving depression in most people.

Diets That Make a Difference

Big Think reported the findings of a study comparing a western diet that contains more sugars and fat, to the Mediterranean diet predominantly comprised of vegetables, oils, and nuts.

“Those who lived almost exclusively on the traditional Mediterranean diet were about half as likely to develop depression over the period as those eating more unhealthy food; even when you control for things like education and economic status.”

Michael Berk is a professor of psychiatry at the Deakin University School of Medicine in Australia. He offered an explanation to The Washington Post on how diets affect our mental health.

“Traditional diets, the kinds of foods your grandmother would have recognized, have been associated with a lower risk of mental health issues. There’s lots of hype about the Mediterranean diet [fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, nuts, fish] but the traditional Norwegian diet [fish, shellfish, game, root vegetables, dairy products, whole-wheat bread] and the traditional Japanese diet [fish, tofu, rice] appear to be just as protective.”

University of California in Los Angeles, clinical psychologist George Slavich has studied depression for years. When discussing causes of depression, Dr. Slavich sees the body having more precedence over the mind.

He says, “I don’t even talk about it as a psychiatric condition anymore. It does involve psychology, but it also involves equal parts of biology and physical health.”

Today, treating depression with healthier diets is becoming more common. For instance, the U.S. Department of Defense initiated a trial program that delivers nutrient rich foods to soldiers diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, claiming eating a healthy diet has proven to be as effective as preventative mental health counseling in preventing depression.

Not everyone is completely onboard in citing the body over the mind when it comes to depression. As with most healthcare professional, Dr. Berk supports an integrative approach to treating mental illness, including added traditional treatments, exercise, as well as experimenting with diet modifications. With respect to depression, Dr. Berk offers more.

“For a mood disorder like depression, there are hundreds if not thousands of risk pathways that all contribute to the disorder. Targeting one factor doesn’t target all the factors that cause someone to develop depression. That’s why you need to develop an integrated package of care as the norm.”

Most people agree that healthy and nutritional diets should be included in an eclectic and holistic approach to treating depression.

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Last Updated on November 22, 2021

Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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Simplify

I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

Absolutely.

And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

  • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
  • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
  • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

Be Mindful

You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

Reflect

As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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