It's believed that as many as 300 million people worldwide suffer from depression. Although treatment for the mood disorder ranges from holistic methods such as running and meditation to prescribed medication — depending on its severity — there's not a lot known about how to prevent its onset.
According to new research from the RUSH University of Chicago, the DASH diet can reduce a person's risk of suffering from depression by around 11 percent. The DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, is based on eating a heart-healthy diet of vegetables, grains, fruit, and, low-fat and dairy-free foods.
The study followed around 1,000 people who had an average age of 81 over six and a half years. Participants were split into three groups: one following the DASH diet, another following the similar Mediterranean diet, and the last who ate a Western diet of processed foods. Each participant filled out a questionnaire about their eating habits and was monitored for symptoms of depression.
Researchers found that the participants who closely followed the healthy diets were 11 percent less likely to develop depression than the group who ate a Western diet high in processed foods, sugar, red meat, and saturated fats. Although this is only one study and therefore doesn't conclusively prove that the DASH diet does lower the risk of depression, it does prove that eating a healthier diet has a positive effect on not just our physical health but also our mental and emotional health.