5 Foods That Can Cause Depression
There is a growing and robust body of medical literature that not only implicates these foods in mood disturbance and other psychiatric diagnoses, but has actually identified a direct causal relationship – which means, if you eliminate them, you can permanently resolve your symptoms of depression.
The food you eat directly affects your brain
Food is the best medicine. All your cells, bones, signaling molecules, and tissues are built from what you eat. For example, dietary fats are the building blocks of brain tissue and help balance hormones, and muscles are built from protein. Different vitamins and minerals are used to create energy and send electrical impulses along neurons so that we can move, think, and feel. A nourishing diet is the best strategy against depression.
The food we eat affects both our human and microbial cells. Numerous studies have shown that food changes the collection of trillions of beneficial bacteria in our guts, called the microbiome (1). In the name of convenience, flavor, or simply habit, so many of us consume inflammatory foods on a daily basis that increase intestinal permeability (leaky gut), harm the microbiome, and create chronic inflammation that can lead to depression.
Many studies have shown that people who eat an anti-inflammatory diet have significantly lower risks of depression (2-5). A recent study that tracked about 6,500 women over 12 years showed that women eating an anti-inflammatory diet had a 20% lower risk of developing depression than their peers (6). These anti-inflammatory diets consist of healthy fats, vitamins and antioxidants, and plenty of high-quality protein. On the other hand, many foods in the Standard American Diet (SAD) create chronic inflammation. These five inflammatory foods are the most frequent offenders I see when treating patients for depression.
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