Eating Fruit and Vegetables Makes You Happier
It is predicted that by 2020 depression will be the second leading disease burden. It has been suggested that what people eat can affect their mood and nutrition can have an antidepressant role.
Antidepressant drugs carry the FDA’s “black box” warning. The black box is FDA’s greatest warning that appears on the insert of the package for prescription drugs that may cause serious life-threatening adverse effects. This black box drug is not the best choice as people can get even better anti-stress and anti-depression results with natural options.
Consumption of a Mediterranean style diet has been shown to be protective against depression symptoms in mid-aged women (1). Another study in New Zealand has shown that eating fruit and vegetables promotes emotional well-being in young adults (2). One study in the USA shows that antioxidants from fruit and vegetables were associated with a decreased risk of depression (3). Although, antioxidants from dietary supplements were not shown to be associated with depression (3). Showing that antioxidants from fruit and vegetables but not dietary supplements benefit depression.
Evidence suggests that foods high in carbohydrates may increase brain serotonin levels (4) and that micronutrients found in fruits and vegetables (for example, folate) might improve symptoms of depression in as little as 10 weeks when used in conjunction with conventional antidepressant medication (5,6). Additionally a ‘western’ diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates is associated with depression in adult women (7).
Diet may affect brain functions that are associated with depression, including synthesis and regulation of neurotransmitters (8), synaptic plasticity (8-10), membrane fluidity and neuroinflammation (9, 11). Depression has been linked with low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin (10, 12). The precursor for serotonin is tryptophan (10, 12), an essential amino acid. Dietary sources of tryptophan include fish, legumes, whole grains and nuts.
Additionally omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in Western diets may affect depression. Omega-6 fatty acids are linked with an increase of proinflammatory eicosanoids, a decrease of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and a decrease in membrane fluidity (11, 13). It has been shown that inflammation is increased in people with depression (9, 14)
Moreover increased homocysteine levels which may be caused by folate deficiency, have been linked to depression (15). Folate is present in dark-green leafy vegetables, legumes, citrus fruits and many types of bread and other cereals (are fortified in Australia).
In conclusion, a ‘Mediterranean-style’ dietary pattern and fruit and vegetable consumption may have a protective effect against the onset of depressive symptoms 3 years later. It is suggested that health professionals and public policymakers should consider diet as having a potential role in the prevention and management of depression.
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes:
• Getting plenty of exercise
• Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
• Replacing butter with healthy fats such as uncooked olive oil
• Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavour foods
• Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
• Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
• Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
• No sense of time urgency
• Siesta – have a long lunch followed by a nap every day and then go back to work
Try a natural fruit and vegetable cleansing diet for 2 weeks and see if your stress is reduced. Try Morlife Dark Chocolate Goji Berries or Sacha Inchi Seeds (the highest source of omega 3 and found in the amazon).