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Is Your Diet Making You Depressed?

By Stepy Kamei

You've probably heard the saying, "you are what you eat" before. Essentially, it highlights the importance of eating healthy and wholesome foods, as the food you eat plays a huge role in determining your physical and mental health and well-being on an overall scale.

Studies have shown that, simply put, certain diets put people at a higher risk of developing health issues such as depression than others. Unfortunately, the classic Western diet is one such example of an unhealthy diet. Keep on reading to learn more about what makes the Western diet so unhealthy -- and how you can integrate other, healthier eating habits into your day for optimal mental and physical wellness.

The Downsides of a Western Diet

While there are certainly positive aspects of the traditionally Western diet, it can't be ignored that many Americans rely on unhealthy snacks and meals.

For instance, many of us turn to frozen or pre-packaged meals at least once a day. They are certainly convenient and easy to make, but these foods are often stripped of much of their nutritional content. In order to keep these meals edible for long periods of time, they need to be frozen and/or loaded with preservatives like sugar and salt, which means many of the nutrients are lost and replaced with inflammation-inducing ingredients instead.

Essentially, the Western diet tends to be overly reliant on sugar, saturated fat, and salt, while foregoing ingredients which are fresh and minimally processed.

Unfortunately, these ingredients have been shown to be directly linked with increased feelings of depression and anxiety.

Integrating the Mediterranean and Japanese Diets Into Your Meals

Conversely, people living in the Mediterranean areas as well as Japan tend to experience a longer lifespan and overall healthier lifestyle, with lower rates of depression and other mood disorders. This is in large part due to their diet, which places its focus on fresh produce, lean proteins, and whole grains. Processed foods, packaged foods, and instant meals are not a staple in these regions of the world.

It's been shown that people who consume minimally processed foods tend to experience more positive moods, less stress and anxiety, and improved physical health, which in turn combats depression. After all, if you're fit, getting a good night's sleep every night, and experiencing lower levels of inflammation in the body, this naturally boosts your mood and energy levels, making it easier to fight off conditions such as depression.

This is why it's a good idea to consider eating more like people from these areas of the world. Be sure to choose foods which have been minimally processed, if at all. Try to reach for more fresh ingredients while avoiding foods which are preserved and packaged when you can.

Be sure to continue to do more research online to learn more about implementing healthier eating habits into your daily routine! 

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in College Station, Tex.

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