A recent Australian study has confirmed that what we eat really does affect how we feel – and remarkably quickly. The study showed that symptoms of depression were significantly decreased in young adults (17-35 years) when they followed a healthier diet for three weeks. The adults included in the study were experiencing moderate to high levels of depression, and were consuming a diet high in sugar and processed foods. Our busy lifestyles have resulted in more and more of us eating fast and processed foods, but it seems convenience also comes at a price. Making simple changes to our diet, and reconnecting with the source of our food, can have a huge impact on our own health, as well as the health of those we love.
The beneficial changes to diet in this study included: reducing processed foods (such as refined carbohydrates, sugar, fried fast food, processed meats, and soft drink), as well as increasing vegetables (5 serves per day) and fruit (2-3 serves per day), and including wholegrain cereals, unsweetened dairy, fish, nuts and seeds, olive oil, and turmeric and cinnamon. In those who followed the diet, symptoms of depression significantly decreased, along with anxiety and stress levels. These results support a growing body of evidence that links healthier dietary choices with a significant reduction in symptoms of depression.
The foods we choose to eat have a direct impact on how our body functions, as well as it’s systems, pathways and processes – including the gut microbiome (and the gut/brain connection), immune function and inflammation pathways, oxidative stress, digestive health, and brain plasticity and cognition. The research is stacking up to clearly show that what we choose to eat, really does affect our health (and how we feel) in wide range of ways.
Depression, and symptoms of depression, are common in Australians, with about one in eleven people experiencing symptoms. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports depression affects more than 300 million people globally, and the numbers are growing.
A holistic approach can be very effective in reducing and managing mental health symptoms. It can also be helpful when combined with other treatment options, including medication. A naturopath considers you as a whole person and aims to address the root cause(s) of your symptoms. They also offer a focus on disease prevention and empowering you to make sustainable diet and lifestyle changes, while educating you about your current health status, and/or symptoms, and ways to restore balance and health.
Naturopathy acknowledges the interconnection of all aspects of you (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual), and the ways you interact with, and within, your environment, family and community. Naturopaths often recommend specific dietary changes to address individual needs and recognise that it is not a one size fits all approach when restoring balance at a foundational level. Your naturopath will also consider and address other factors that may be contributing to your symptoms and any other health imbalances.
Recent research demonstrates naturopathy is particularly effective in treating complex chronic conditions, including depression and anxiety. If you are interested in seeing a naturopath for any health concerns, you can make an appointment with a naturopath at Herbs on the Hill here.
Anxiety & Depression Study
Herbs on the Hill are currently involved in a study observing the effectiveness of western herbal medicine in cases of anxiety and depression. If you would like to be a part of the study a commitment of three consultations is required, and although regular consultation fees are charged, herbal prescriptions are provided free. Further information is available here, and bookings can be made here.
Wherever you are at on your health journey, it is the perfect place to begin.