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College Student Depressed Head Down

Healthy Diet Shown to Improve Depressive Symptoms


Eating high-quality foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants helps nourish the brain and protect it from oxidative stress. According to a new study, it may also help improve depressive symptoms in young adults.





Seventy-six young adults in college participated in the study. All of them had elevated depressive symptoms and regularly consumed a poor diet. Half were assigned to consume a healthy diet for 3 weeks, while the other half continued to consume their regular diet. Participants in the diet group were told to increase consumption of vegetables, fruits, wholegrain grain, protein, unsweetened dairy, nuts and seeds, olive oil, and turmeric and cinnamon. They were told to decrease consumption of refined carbohydrates, sugar, fatty or processed meats, and soft drinks.





Depressive symptoms were measured at baseline and at the end of the study using the Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale-Revised (CESD-R) and the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21). 





Participants in the diet group saw significant improvement in CESD-R scores. The average score improved from the elevated range to the no clinical significance range. Scores remained elevated in the control group. The average DASS-21 score in the diet group improved from the moderate severity range to the normal range. Scores remained in the moderate severity range in the control group. The diet group also had significantly lower anxiety scores compared to the control group.





The study was conducted by researchers from Macquarie University, Australia. It was published online ahead of print on October 9, 2019 in the journalPLOS One.


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