World’s first study showing that diet treats major depression

World’s first study showing that diet treats major depression

The world’s first study showing that diet treats major depression has been conducted and released by Deakin University.

Until recently, mental health was almost too taboo to talk about. Thankfully, it is starting to be recognized as a very important aspect of overall health, and people are starting to open up about depression and anxiety.

Suicide is still a major problem – not just in the U.S. – but worldwide.

The World Health Organization estimates that over 800,000 people die from suicide every year, which is about one person every 40 seconds.

We’ve known for some time that there is a clear association between the quality of people’s diets and their risk for depression,” Director of Deakin’s Food and Mood Centre Professor Felice Jacka said.

This is the case across countries, cultures and age groups, with healthy diets associated with reduced risk, and unhealthy diets associated with increased risk for depression.

However, this is the first randomised controlled trial to directly test whether improving diet quality can actually treat clinical depression.

In the study, adults were split into two groups. One group received social support, while the other was assigned to a dietitian for three months.

The dietary group was given advice on their eating habits, with emphasis on more intake of whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes, etc. They were also advised to reduce intake of unhealthy, fatty, sugary, and highly processed foods.

The results showed that the participants who changed their dietary intake had a significant reduction in depression symptoms when compared to the support group.

These results were not explained by changes in physical activity or body weight, but were closely related to the extent of dietary change,” Professor Jacka said.

Those who adhered more closely to the dietary program experienced the greatest benefit to their depression symptoms.”

Professor Jacka believes that the results could change the way that depression is treated.

Mental disorders account for the leading cause of disability worldwide, with depression accounting for the large proportion of that burden,” she said.

While approximately half of sufferers are helped by currently available medical and psychological therapies, new treatment options for depression are urgently needed.

Importantly, depression also increases the risk of and, in turn, is also increased by common physical illnesses such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Successfully improving the quality of patients’ diets would also benefit these illnesses.”

The world’s first study showing that diet treats major depression was published in the journal BMC Medicine.

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1. “World-first Trial Shows Improving Diet Can Treat Major Depression.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, n.d. Web. 08 Feb. 2017.
2. “A Randomised Controlled Trial of Dietary Improvement for Adults with Major Depression (the ‘SMILES’ Trial).” BMC Medicine. BMC Medicine, n.d. Web. 08 Feb. 2017.

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