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Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Randy

Depression affects millions of people, and it may be a symptom of other health issues. For example, depression can be a symptom of gluten sensitivity, fibromyalgia, deficiency of the amino acid tryptophan, Vitamin B-12 deficiency, ciguatera poisoning, low testosterone, and pork tapeworms. Other foods associated with increased risk of depression include mercury (mostly from fish) and the artificial sweetener aspartame. Depression may be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease

Plant-based diets, high in fruit and vegetable intake, may improve mood and decrease depression. This may be because plant-based diets supply lower levels of arachidonic acid, and higher levels of antioxidants. Other helpful foods when fighting and preventing depression include turmeric, saffron, probiotics, flaxseeds and walnuts, and a carbohydrate-rich evening meal. Regular physical exercise can help prevent depression, and may work better than antidepressants, which may actually not help much at all. Listening to Mozart can also decrease depression and anxiety.


Image Credit: Mark Garth / Flickr. This image has been modified.

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