Improving Mood by Adding Fiber Into the Diet
Did you know it’s possible to improve your mood just by adding more fiber into your diet?
In fact, several scientific studies reveal that the amount you consume regularly plays a much greater role in emotional well-being than we used to think.
Estimates indicate there are about 300 million people afflicted by depression in the world, so it seems to be on the rise. Also, many of them don’t overcome it and basically have to live with chronic depression.
Many of the factors that lead to a depressive state are often unavoidable – stress is one of them. Thus, chronic stress greatly increases the risk of depression and even impairs intellectual activity.
Another important parameter is the type of diet you follow. You may not be aware of it, but an inadequate one can greatly affect your mood.
A diet rich in fiber is key
A diet high in fat, sugars, and low in fiber increase the risk of cardiovascular and intestinal diseases. It also affects the brain.
Research reveals that maintaining low-calorie diets slows down brain aging and improves intellectual activity and memory. Also, a proper diet can ameliorate depression and anxiety.
In fact, researchers conducted a study in which they analyzed the type of diet of 45,826 people. There were various categories such as:
- Slimming programs
- Low-fat diets
- Selective diets or others that are rich in all types of nutrients
The conclusion they reached was that eating more food high in fiber content such as fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, cereals is essential to improve the symptoms of depression. These diets didn’t improve anxiety though.
Also, symptoms of improvement were greater in women than in men, for some reason. Also, emotional relief was greater when people followed a diet rich in fiber along with regular physical activity, especially outdoors.
The Mediterranean diet and depression
This is one of the most recommended diets for maintaining optimal intellectual and emotional health. It consists of the consumption of a high variety of vegetables, fruit, legumes, grains and seeds, olive oil, moderate consumption of fish, lean meat (especially poultry), and fermented dairy products like yogurt and cheese.
The consumption of sugars, saturated fats, and red meat is very low or non-existent in this kind of diet. It actually provides essential fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, micro-minerals, and slowly assimilated carbohydrates that promote an optimal state of mind and mood.
A scientific study conducted in 2013 endorsed the benefits of the Mediterranean diet for improving depression, even when severe. In particular, other studies emphasize the importance of consuming legumes, vegetables, and bluefish.
Find out some Ways to Increase Your Fiber Intake
Gut health influences depression
Gut microbiota also impacts mood — the intestine is home to billions of microorganisms and there are about 1,000 types of them.
These microorganisms (mainly bacteria) must remain balanced for the brain to function as it should. The risk of suffering neurodegenerative diseases increases when the microorganisms become altered.
Much research remains to be done, although some studies indicate that gut microbiota also influences depression.
For example, a scientific study conducted in 2019 with 1,054 participants identified at least two types of gut bacteria (Coprococcus and Dialister) that had low levels in depressed people compared to people without depression.
There’s no doubt depression is a combination of many different genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that cannot be generalized. However, you must keep in mind that the type of diet you adhere to is a factor that’s either for or against your optimal state of mind.
There’s still research to be done on this subject but many already believe it may be possible to improve mood by eating fiber (within a balanced diet, such as the Mediterranean diet). It may also improve the chances of recovery of people with chronic depression.