Is There a Connection Between Nutrition and Depression?

“You are what you eat” is an oft-repeated anthem, a quick way for us say that what we eat matters on an essential level to our health and well-being. It’s far too easy to ignore or dismiss, given the power of emotional, or stress, eating. Increasingly, and compellingly, a growing body of research identifies connections between diet (along with other lifestyle elements) and how we feel physically and psychologically.

What we eat has a direct effect in terms of nutritional richness, as well as affecting interrelated factors, including gut bacteria (the microbiome and use of psychobiotics to address mental health), inflammation; energy metabolism (e.g. mitochondrial function and nutritional supplementation), antiaging medicine; and effect on memory and cognition—sometimes subsumed under the rubric “nutritional psychiatry”.

Eating and nutrition are, of course, a critical aspect of social behavior—breaking bread—and for many reasons, social life is as integral to health as are individual efforts, adding a layer of nuance to food choices. It’s easier to be healthy when we partner with others to achieve our goals. While smaller studies are interesting and often drive individual behavior (e.g. changing diet or taking a supplement after reading something online), population-based studies provide more robust data to inform decision-making.

Excerpted from Psychology Today

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