Could Changing Your Grocery List Help Treat Depression?

Photographed by Alice Gao.
As you know, food is your fuel and source of energy. But can what you eat also be effective in boosting your mood and treating depression? A new study shows that what you put on your grocery list might have an effect on your mental health.

In particular, the study, published in the journal BMC Medicine, found that certain foods could improve symptoms of depression. For the study, researchers from Australia's Deakins University performed a randomized trial to test a healthy diet's effect on those with depression.

The researchers randomly selected 31 participants to embrace a diet of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and selected another group of 25 participants to receive social support, which involved weekly visits with the researchers.

After 12 weeks, the researchers found that a third of the participants who changed their diet reported a significant improvement in their mood and symptoms (and no, researchers noted, this wasn't because they had lost weight or anything). On the other hand, just 8% of the participants who had social support reported an improvement in mood.

It's important to note, however, that this is a relatively small sample size, and a larger study would need to be conducted in order to really determine that food is effective in alleviating depression. Plus, as researchers said, food isn't a cure for depression and should not replace drug and therapy treatments — but the study does give some validity to the common claim that certain foods can be mood-boosters.

If you are experiencing depression and need support, please call the National Depressive/Manic-Depressive Association Hotline at 1-800-826-3632 or the
Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour hotline at 1-775-784-8090.
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