Can Diet Affect Mood?

The answer is YES. A growing number of research studies are finding a link between our diets and mental health

The link between food and mental health is a new and emerging field of study that is changing the way we understand the connection between nutrition and brain function. Counselling can help you identify changes you can make and support you in making these changes to improve how you feel. Below is a list of research articles and their findings on how nutrition affects mental health and how food can be used to improve the treatment of depression and anxiety.

1 in 5 people in Canada will experience a mental health issue.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression and anxiety are predicted to be the top health concerns by 2030, and are currently considered the top mental disorders globally.

How nutrition can help depression

These numbers continue to grow as people experience more demands and life stresses with fewer supports and resources. Ongoing research on the connection between nutrition and mental health suggests that part of the solution may lie in improving our diets.

A recent review of 21 studies across 10 countries that investigated the link between nutrition and mental health found a consistent link between healthy eating patterns and reduced risk of depression while a Western Diet (SAD – Standard American Diet) was found to correlate with higher rates of mental health disorders.

A 2019 review of 56 studies on the connection of diets and mental health across lifespan found increasing support for the use of nutrition in the management and prevention of mental health disorders. 

The SMILES Trial

This randomized control trial (RTC) aimed to investigate the role of nutrition in the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder. This was one of the first randomized trials to investigate the role of nutrition in the treatment of depression.

Intake of Raw Fruits and Vegetables Is Associated With Better Mental Health Than Intake of Processed Fruits and VegetablesNutrition and mental health

This study investigated the association of raw fruits and vegetables with mental health in a study of 422 young adults. Outcome: Consuming a diet high in raw fruits and vegetables significantly predicted improved mental health further demonstrating the link between diet and mental health. 

Food and Mood: How do Diet and Nutrition Affect Mental Wellbeing?

This article investigates the mechanisms that may affect how food affects our mood and various mental health conditions. It recognized the complexity of the relationship of diet and mental health while highlighting the biochemical processes that are at play.

Research in this field continues with growing evidence supporting the relationship of food on mental health. However, mental health is complex and diet is only one aspect of treatment and prevention. Contact me to learn more about how counselling can help you.