Although diet has been directly linked to a variety of physical illnesses, a recent study shows that it even impacts mental health.
Dr. Joseph Firth, a research fellow at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, led the meta-study, which used data collected from more than 45,000 people. The data was compiled from a set of carefully controlled, randomized studies on the effects of dietary intervention on depression and anxiety. The results were published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.
The results of the study were somewhat surprising: analysis revealed that virtually all positive dietary improvements led to a significant reduction of depressive symptoms. However, these improvements did not lead to a reduction of anxiety symptoms.
The researchers noted that although all dietary improvements, such as nutrient-rich diets and weight-loss diets, led to a reduction of depressive symptoms, certain guidelines had the strongest positive effect. In Dr. Firth’s words, “Eating more nutrient-dense meals which are high in fiber and vegetables, while cutting back on fast foods and refined sugars, appears to be sufficient for avoiding the potentially negative psychological effects of a ‘junk food diet’.”
The researchers pointed out that when a healthy diet was combined with regular exercise, the improvement in depressive symptoms was even greater. In fact, according to the researchers, a healthy diet and regular exercise can, in many cases, be a viable treatment for depressive disorders.
An intriguing discovery of this study, which is not yet understood, is that the effects of eating a healthy diet were found to be more significant for female participants.
What makes a healthy diet such a strong factor in battling depression? The researchers concluded that the reduction of inflammation, obesity, and fatigue that are associated with a nutrient-rich, high-fiber diet, which are clearly known to have a positive impact on our physical health, have a similar impact on our mental health.
At the Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers, we offer the very best of care in a patient-centered environment. And that includes varied, well-balanced meals that support our residents’ physical and mental health.
Our Food Service Director, Dietician and dietary staff tailor gourmet meals to the clinical needs and personal preferences of each resident. Residents may participate in our menu planning by meeting with the Food Service Director to plan their own “Resident Choice” menus.
Family and friends play an important role in mental health, and we encourage this healthy socialization by allowing our residents’ visitors to always join us free of charge. Is there a birthday or other event? Our kitchen staff is happy to cater free birthday parties, barbeques and other special events.
We are proud that our award-winning, state-of-the-art kitchen and elegantly decorated dining rooms exceed the latest Department of Health and Advisory Standards for food quality, preparation, variety and, of course, taste.
Our 25 years of excellent care have led to us being awarded a Best Nursing Homes award by US News & World Today, a 5-Star rating by USA Today, and an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, among many other awards.
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