Feeling blue? Start shopping on the perimeter of your grocery store. A new study from England found that depressive feelings were more common among those who ate more processed foods, and less common in those with a diet consisting of “whole foods” (i.e. fruits, vegetables, minimally processed grains). The best way to find whole foods in your local grocery store is to shop around the outside of the aisles.
Processed foods contain more sugars and these have been linked with a higher incidence of depression. Plus, a diet high in processed meats and refined sugars has been linked to increased incidence to neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, as well as overall mortality. Typically most of the whole foods are located on the perimeter of the grocery store, not in the middle, which is usually reserved for over-processed sugary foods.
There are a few reasons why putting down the chips and diving into a salad may improve your mood:
Antioxidants: The antioxidants in fruits and vegetables keep a pep in your step.
Folate: Low blood levels of folate may increase risk of depression. Folate is involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters in our brains, so low levels of folate means lower levels of the chemicals which keep our brains working properly. And why folate can reduce risk of brain atrophy and Alzheimer’s. Folate-rich foods include: asparagus, spinach, beef liver, fortified cereals, avocado and broccoli.
Omega-3 fatty acids: Fish oil also has been shown to keep the blues away. Oily fishes such as salmon, anchovies and sardines are all good choices for some omega-3s.
However, depression is a multifactorial illness with many different causes that are unrelated, and unchangeable through diet. So, as always, consult a mental health professional if you are having signs of clinical depression.