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Article by: Dr. Marlynn Wei MD, JD

The food we eat can be an excellent source of vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants. Growing research supports that the quality of our food is not only important to our physical health but also for our mood and can influence depression and anxiety.

Our Westernized so-called “cafeteria” diet unfortunately is calorie-loaded, nutrient-poor, and highly processed, leaving us with extra calories without real nutrition. Animal studies have found that a diet high in fat, sugar and processed foods leads to higher rates of anxiety and depression.

Foods that are high in sugar, fat, and sodium are also very addictive and particularly comforting. In fact, evolution has probably set us up this way. Researchers have even found that high-fat, high-sugar foods or “comfort foods” temporarily improve mood and relieve anxiety and depression but then create a cycle of self-medication with non-nutritious foods.

In contrast, a Mediterranean diet high in fish, olive oil, nuts, and whole grains has been linked to lower rates of depression. One study found thatpeople who followed a Mediterranean diet for 4 years reduced their risk of depression by 40-60 percent. Another study found that using a diet rich in green leafy vegetables and berries called “MIND” (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neuro-degenerative Delay)– a hybrid of a Mediterranean diet and a diet for people with high blood pressure– was linked to lower rates of Alzheimer’s disease.

To check out some great mood-food’s to try, read more here….. !

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