A small (n=76), randomised controlled trial published in the open-access journal, PLOS ONE – ‘A brief diet intervention can reduce symptoms of depression in young adults’ – shows a significant reduction in symptoms of depression in young adults (17-35 years old), after eating a healthy diet for three weeks.
The study by Heather Francis from Macquarie University and colleagues, reveals that a change in diet towards a healthy diet based on the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating (AGTHE) results in significant improvement in mood, with depression scores shifting into the normal range.
Results of the study also show that a healthy diet is associated with lower anxiety scores.
Comparatively, the study shows that a poor diet (so high in processed foods, sugar and saturated fats) contributes to depression scores in the moderate-to-high range, reportedly.
“Modifying diet to reduce processed food intake and increase consumption of fruit, vegetables, fish and olive oil improved depression symptoms in young adults.
“These findings add to a growing literature showing a modest change to diet is a useful adjunct therapy to reduce symptoms of depression,” the study authors said.
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