Solomon et al. (2010) The Role of Nutrition in Mental Health: Depression

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Other - Faculty of Health - York University

Abstract - Depression is a complex mental illness that can be debilitating for those affected. Although the cause of depression can be unique to each person, symptoms often include negative self-perception, low self-esteem and suicidal thoughts. Currently, depression is often treated with a combination of therapy and medication, the latter with an inherent risk of unwanted side effects. A literature search was conducted using online databases such as Pubmed, Medline (Ovid), Web of Science, and Google Scholar to review published peer-reviewed articles that investigated a connection between dietary habits and risk of depression as well as nutritional interventions used to treat symptoms of depression. Additionally, online government and non-government websites were used to report the prevalence of depression and surveys were used to assess depression symptoms. In summary, the literature suggests a link between dietary habits and risk of depression. Studies have implicated a relatively low intake of fish, omega 3 fatty acids and fruits and vegetables as risk factors for depression. In addition, relatively high amounts of refined sugar and processed foods have shown to increase the risk of depression. Although promising, more nutrition-based intervention studies are required to firmly establish effective diet-based treatments for people diagnosed with depression.

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