The world celebrated Mental Health Day this week and there was a lot of discussion on the need to include mental health within the purview of healthcare. Multiple studies have indicated a link between diet and nutrition and the mental health of a person. Now a new study has said that tweaking your diet even for a brief period can help relieve symptoms of depression. The study has indicated that a shift in dietary habits of young adults may be an effective strategy to alleviate symptoms of depression. Clinically, depression is defined as a disorder that is characterised by persistently low mood and a loss of interest in daily activities, which may or may not cause impairment in daily life. There is a lack of clarity as to whether depression is a result of poor dietary habits or that it drives a person to have a poor diet.
The results of the radomised controlled trial were published in a study report titled, "A brief diet intervention can reduce symptoms of depression in young adults" in the journal PLOS One. The study was aimed at determining whether or not young adults with depression could derive benefits of a shift in their diets for a period of three weeks. Additionally, they wanted to know whether the participants could stick to a dietary intervention for the prescribed period. The study was conducted with the participation of 76 young adults aged between 17 and 35. All the participants had between moderate to high levels of depression and all of them had diets rich in sugar, saturated fats and processed foods.
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The participants were divided into two groups- "diet change" group and"regular diet" group. The participants were tested for levels of depression, mood and anxiety disorders as well as for logical and reasoning abilities at the beginning and end of the study. The people in the diet change group were encouraged to stick to a healthier diet by promising them a gift card. The people in the diet change group showed significant improvement in depression, anxiety and stress scores at the end of the three-week study. On the other hand, there was no difference in depression scores in the other group that stuck to their regular diet. The study was conducted by researchers at the Macquarie University in Australia.
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