This Dietary Change Reduces Depression Risk

Hundreds of studies have linked a better diet with improved mental health.

Hundreds of studies have linked a better diet with improved mental health.

Adding more fibre to the diet is linked to a lower risk of depression.

Dietary fibre is mostly found in legumes, fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Fibre is commonly recommended for a healthy diet as it reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.

But it has also repeatedly been linked to a lower risk of depression.

The latest findings come from a study of almost 6,000 pre- and post-menopausal women.

The results showed that in pre-menopausal women higher fibre intake was linked to a lower risk of depression.

The link was not, however, seen in post-menopausal women.

Higher fibre intake improves the diversity and richness of the gut’s microbiota.

Dr. Stephanie Faubion, director of the The North American Menopause Society, said:

“This study highlights an important link between dietary fiber intake and depression, but the direction of the association is unclear in this observational study, such that women with better mental health may have had a healthier diet and consumed more fiber, or a higher dietary fiber intake may have contributed to improved brain health by modulating the gut microbiome or some combination.

Nonetheless, it has never been more true that ‘you are what you eat,’ given that what we eat has a profound effect on the gut microbiome which appears to play a key role in health and disease.”

Diet and mental health

Hundreds of studies have linked a better diet with improved mental health.

For example, studies have shown a link between a diet rich in vegetables, nuts, fruits and fish and a lower risk of depression.

Raw fruits and vegetables in particular have been linked to better mental health.

Avoiding a high-fat diet can reduce depressive behaviour in mice.

Reducing the intake of common inflammatory foods including fast food, cake and processed meats reduces the risk of depression.

Similarly, cutting down on refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, white rice and soda, may lower depression risk.

All sorts of positive dietary changes, including weight loss, fat reduction and nutrient boosting diets, have been shown to improve mental health.

The study was published in the journal Menopause (Kim et al., 2020).

Get FREE email updates to PsyBlog

Hello, and welcome to PsyBlog. Thanks for dropping by.

This site is all about scientific research into how the mind works.

It’s mostly written by psychologist and author, Dr Jeremy Dean.

I try to dig up fascinating studies that tell us something about what it means to be human.

Get FREE email updates to PsyBlog. Join the mailing list.

Author: Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book "Making Habits, Breaking Habits" (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks.