Adopting healthy diet interventions including weight loss, nutrient-boosting and fat reduction diets could potentially lower depressive symptoms, even in individuals without the diagnoses of depression disorders.
Researchers at the University of Manchester conducted a meta-analysis of 16 randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that assessed the effects of dietary interventions on the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
The findings, published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, showed that all types of improvements in diet seemed to have comparable effects on mental health. Weight-loss diets, fat- reduction diets and nutrient-improving diets were equally beneficial for lowering depressive symptoms. Women appeared to derive more benefits from dietary interventions for symptoms of depression as well as anxiety. Dietary interventions in combination with exercise boosted the improvement in depressive symptoms.
Dr Brendon Stubbs, co-author of the study, said: "Our data add to the growing evidence to support lifestyle interventions as an important approach to tackle low mood and depression." The authors call for further research to investigate the effects of dietary interventions in individuals with clinically-diagnosed psychiatric conditions.