Diet and Depression: Is There a Link?

If it’s true that “you are what you eat” – and research is increasingly confirming that truism – then what you eat certainly has an impact on mental health. Finding a direct link between certain foods and the prevention or treatment of depression is hard, however.

A cause-and-effect relationship “is a hotly debated issue,” says Dr. Steven C. Schlozman, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “Some evidence suggests eating processed foods increases both the risk and eventual development of depression, but the problem with those studies is there are other things that could explain it, such as socioeconomic issues.” That is, a highly processed diet is correlated with lower-income populations, and those individuals have many other stressors in their lives that also contribute to depression.

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