Although most Africans are yet to come to terms with the fact that depression and anxiety are real and they are also a mental illness, a report by the World Bank released early last year showed more than 22% percent of Nigerian are chronically depressed.
While there are different factors that may lead to depression, a study carried out by a team of researchers at the University of Manchester, the United Kingdom revealed that although poor diets could also affect mental health negatively, improving diet does not mean symptoms of depression and anxiety will disappear overnight.
The study, as published in the Journal of Psychomatic medicine examined data on close to 46,000 people to arrive at the conclusion.
The researchers examined the effects of dietary interventions on the symptoms of depression and an and analysis revealed improvement in diet reduced depressive symptoms.
“The dietary interventions that eased depression included weight-loss diets, fat-reducing diets, and nutrient-rich diets.
“The similar effects from any type of dietary improvement suggests that highly-specific or specialized diets are unnecessary for the average individual. Instead, just making simple changes is equally beneficial for mental health.”
“In particular, eating more nutrient-dense meals, which are high in fiber and vegetables, while cutting back on fast foods and refined sugars, appear to be sufficient for avoiding the potentially negative psychological effects of a junk food diet,” Firth said.
A c0-author of the study, Dr. Brendoon Stubbs also emphasized the importance of physical activities.
“Our results in this study found that when dietary interventions were combined with exercise, a greater improvement in depressive symptoms was experienced by people. Taken together, our data really highlight the central role of eating a healthier diet and taking regular exercise to act as a viable treatment to help people with low moods,” Stubbs said.