Eat a Mediterranean diet to lower risk of depression

Depression effects more than 16 million adults in the US each year.

But could something as simple as changing your diet help boost your mood?

In a new paper, researchers analyzed the results of 41 studies on depression and food. They found eating a Mediterranean diet was linked to a 33% lower risk of depression.

The Mediterranean diet includes foods like veggies, fruits, nuts, legumes, fish, and healthy oils which contain mono-saturated and omega-three fats.

"Especially the omega three fatty acids - those are known to have pretty clear effects with depression," says researcher Charles Conway.

On the flip side, the researchers found a diet high in processed foods, sugar and saturated fats upped the risk of depression.

Steer clear of products with ingredients like flour, hydrogenated oil, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and high fructose corn syrup. Some foods that have been shown to boost your mood: avocados, berries, tomatoes, leafy greens like kale and spinach, walnuts, seeds, and beans. And don't forget to throw in some physical activity for good measure.

"Pushing yourself to exercise regularly probably helps with some degree of mood improvement," says Conway.

Some researchers theorize that food affects your mood because it changes your gut bacteria.

They say, if you eat a lot of processed or "inflammatory" foods, you create chronic inflammation in the body that can lead to depression.
Copyright © 2020 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.