Depression can strike anyone, at any time. But this post-holiday period is a particularly hard time for some people.
There are bills to pay and decorations to put away—and weeks’ worth of cocktail parties and indulgent dinners have taken their toll. Add in the bitter cold and the short, dark days of winter, and you have a recipe for disaster where your mood is concerned.
The good news is, reversing depression could be as simple as sticking to a healthy, balanced diet. And new research shows that the right nutritional rehaul has the potential to transform your mood in a matter of weeks.
Real food, good mood
A group of Australian researchers recruited 76 students between 17 and 35 years old—all with moderate to severe depression, and all with diets heavy is processed food and sugar.
They split the subjects into two groups. One was given guidance on improving their diet, with a specific focus on fresh produce, olive oil, fish, and lean meat. (You might recognize this as the core of my own Mediterranean-style diet advice.)
The other group didn’t receive any dietary guidance. They were simply instructed to return after three weeks—at which point, researchers re-assessed participants’ depression, anxiety, and overall mood scores, as well as their cognitive performance.
And wouldn’t you know? The subjects who changed their diet saw significant improvements in mood, depression, and anxiety scores—enough to bring them into the normal range, in fact. While those who made no dietary changes remained moderately to severely depressed.
Plus, follow-up showed that the 20 percent of subjects who actually maintained their positive diet changes also maintained their mood improvements… illustrating yet another instance where consistency is key.
Putting out the fire
These findings make perfect sense when you consider the role that inflammation plays in depression—just as it does in many other chronic diseases.
Studies show that depressed patients have higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and proteins. And it’s no wonder: We now know that cytokines can interfere with a long list of key neurological processes—including neurotransmitter metabolism, brain hormone function, neuroplasticity, and behavior.
This helps to explain why stress—which also contributes to inflammation in the nervous system—often leads directly to depression. And why rates of depression are so much higher in patients with chronic inflammatory conditions like heart disease and arthritis, too.
So it really shouldn’t surprise you that a Mediterranean-style diet may prove to be a powerful cure. But if you really want to maximize the benefit to your mood, I recommend following a ketogenic Mediterranean diet—much like my A-List Diet—specifically.
I wrote all about the role that ketogenic diets can play in managing neuroinflammation and depression back in the January 2018 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“The controversial diet trick that could reverse America’s top killers—from cancer to diabetes…and more”). Subscribers have access to that article and a whole lot more in my archives.
So if you haven’t yet, consider signing up today. I can’t think of a better way to start the new year off right.
“Randomized controlled trial suggests healthier diet may directly reduce depression: Even a brief period of healthy eating may provide longer-term improvements in mood.” Science Daily, 10/09/2019. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191009142858.htm)