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DASH diet linked with reduced risk of depression in later life, says study

04-11 | Rachael

DASH diet linked with reduced risk of depression in later life, says study

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), commonly used for lowering blood pressure (BP), bad cholesterol and body weight, has been found to have the potential to curb the risk of depression later in life. The DASH diet includes a mix of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and a minimal amount of foods rich in saturated fats and sugar.

Several studies have highlighted that such a diet plays a vital role in decreasing BP, bad cholesterol (LDL) and body weight. Rather than taking medications inflicting a range of side effects, researchers suggest that lifestyle and dietary changes ensure significant improvements in health. Given the fact that depression is prevalent among people grappling with high BP and cholesterol, a group of researchers from Rush University Medical Center conducted a study to probe further. The findings of the aforementioned study will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 70th annual meeting from Apr. 21-27, 2018.

Western diet increases the risk of depression

Depression is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder affecting the American population. Common among people suffering from chronic health issues, the risk of developing depression is also high among those with a history of high blood pressure or stroke. Therefore, it is important for an individual to take necessary measures against the above risk factors to alleviate depression.

The study findings are based on the data collected after analyzing dietary approaches and health of around 964 adults with an average age of 81 for around six-and-a-half years. These participants were monitored for the presence of any depressive symptoms, such as becoming irritated by things that did not impact their state of happiness before and feeling hopeless about the future. Moreover, their daily diet was analyzed on the basis of a questionnaire filled by them. Thereafter, participants were divided into three groups based on the kind of diet followed by them—a DASH diet, Mediterranean diet or the traditional Western diet.

On analyzing the data, it was found that DASH diet was linked with the reduced risk of depression among adults by approximately 11 percent. On the contrary, a Western diet, high in saturated fats and red meats but low in fruits and vegetables, was found to increase the risk of depression. As the Mediterranean diet aims to imitate the diet of people in the Mediterranean region by focusing on foods like olive oil, fish and vegetables, the diet has been referred to as a “well-balanced eating plan” by the U.S. News and World Report. Both, the U.S. News and World Report have ranked the Mediterranean and DASH diet as the top diet.

Stay cautious to avoid risk

It is important to understand that depression or any other form of mental illness does not affect any individual on its own. Apart from biological, genetics and environmental factors, an individual’s diet also plays an important role in the onset of the condition. Therefore, it is important for every individual to choose his or her diet intelligently to curb the risk of depression and lead a healthy life.

Seeking help for depression is crucial as any delay might aggravate its symptoms and worsen the condition. However, one must ensure to consult only an experienced professional capable of understanding the problem and offering the right advice. A number of medications and therapies are available to treat depression; however, one can experience early recovery from any kind of mental illness by undergoing a combination of medications, therapies and lifestyle changes.

In case there’s someone you know who is dealing with depression and looking forward to connect with some of the best treatment centers for depression, the Depression Treatment Helpline of Colorado can help. Call at our 24/7 depression helpline 866-427-5668 or discuss the symptoms and other details with one of our experts. They can assist you with the complete information about the rehabilitation centers in Colorado to enable you to choose the best facility for recovery and get life back on track.


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