Feeling a little low or depressed? A change in your diet could be just the medicine you need.
Negotiating our way to good health in this fast-paced world where convenient, highly processed, unhealthy foods are available at every turn; makes it difficult to eat well and look after ourselves.
However, the results of a recent US study, cuts to the chase, giving us even more motivation to eat healthy foods.
The DASH diet study followed close to 1000 people, with an average age of 81 years, over six and a half years. Participants followed the Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (DASH) by eating fresh foods like fruits, vegetables, low fat and non-fat dairy, whole grains, lean meats, fish, poultry, nuts and beans. This diet is high in fibre and low in processed foods, sugary drinks, salt and animal fats.
The health benefits were striking. Results showed that the DASH Diet is not only good for our waistlines, but could significantly add to our mental wellbeing too – potentially reducing risk of depression by 11%.
Along with the mental health benefits, it also showed this eating plan could prevent and lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of some cancers, heart disease, heart failure, kidney stones and diabetes.
In Australia, many of us follow what is known as the Western Diet. This is a diet high in red and processed meats, fried foods, refined grains and high sugar foods. It is thought that foods like these may be adding to some of our mental health and neurological issues.
According to Beyond Blue, more than 1 million Australians have depression and 45% of us will experience a mental health condition during our lifetime. So, making healthier food choices could go a long way to boosting our moods and energy.
There is always more research to be done, and more studies need to be undertaken to determine the association between diet and mental health. However, simple lifestyle changes could be a great alternative to medication for our mental wellbeing.
With so many other benefits to eating well, it seems following the DASH Diet is a no brainer!