Most people are aware that a healthy diet is vital in order to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other common physical problems. Recent evidence also suggests that good nutrition may be just as important for our mental health and that a number of conditions, including depression, may be infl uenced by dietary factors.
Research in this area is still underway so it is not possible to draw any fi rm conclusions but the evidence does suggest that it is worth trying to follow a healthy diet in order to protect our mental health. Based on the evidence, this booklet suggests some positive changes you can make to improve your diet:
- Eat regularly throughout the day
- Choose less refi ned high sugar foods and drinks and more wholegrain cereals, pulses, fruit and vegetables
- Include protein at each meal
- Eat a wide variety of foods
- Include oily fi sh (omega 3 fatty acids) in your diet
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Maintain adequate fl uid intake
- If you drink alcohol keep within recommended limits
- Exercise regularly
This advice is for anyone who wishes to protect their mental health through healthy eating. It is particularly relevant for people recovering from mild or moderate depression and suggests how changes to their diet can help improve their mood. People with severe depression are encouraged to seek medical help as a priority. While a healthy diet can help recovery, it should sit alongside other treatments recommended by your doctor.
Healthy Eating and Depression