Author: Merrilee Linegar herbalist & nutritionist
oThere’s more and more research indicating that dietary choices may influence mood and what you choose to eat or drink may well encourage bad moods and mild depression.
In a very interesting study from the University of College London, 3486 participants were studied for a period of 5 years. They adopted one of two dietary patterns :”'whole food' (heavily loaded by vegetables, fruits and fish) and 'processed food' (heavily loaded by sweetened desserts, fried food, processed meat, refined grains and high-fat dairy products). Their self-reported depression was assessed 5 years later”.
The results were definitive and the authors concluded that in middle-aged participants, a processed food dietary pattern is a risk factor for CES-D depression 5 years later, whereas a whole food pattern is protective.
Other studies showed similar promises, one in Spain concluded that adhering to a traditional Mediterranean style diet prevented depression 
And closer to home, an Australian study recently came to a similar conclusion. The authors concluded that a “traditional” dietary pattern (mostly vegetables, fruit, grass fed meat, fish, and whole grains) was associated with lower odds for major depression and for anxiety disorders compared to a "western" diet of processed or fried foods, refined grains, sugary products, and beer 
The evidence that diet affects mental health is certainly becoming more and more compelling.
In another study, a group of people with both depression and heart disease or diabetes were studied for 3 months to see if supervised dietary changes and lifestyle changes including an introduction of exercise would change their health. The results - 73% of people whose symptoms suggested clinical depression before treatment were no longer depressed. They also reported improvements in psychological wellbeing sensing less hostility and perceived stress plus, an improved quality of life as well as less symptoms associated with heart disease and diabetes. 
It may be impossible to separate dietary effects alone, but it certainly demonstrates that comprehensive lifestyle changes can be extremely effective to overall health and mental wellbeing. It’s certainly worth trying natural means such as changing your diet to quell depression before filling the script for an antidepressant.
So let’s look at the main do’s and don’ts of a healthy psychological state.
As a nutritionist and herbalist, I firmly believe in walking the walk, so I thought I’d post a typical day’s breakfast to give you an idea of how a healthy diet not only equates to a happy disposition, but is terribly yummy!!!!.
2 poached eggs on seeded rice bread
Home made pesto (recipe on our website)
Sprinkling of sprouted fenugreek
Good drizzle of flaxseed oil (Stoney Creek or Melrose are tastiest brands)
Good grinding of pepper
 Akbaraly TN, Brunner EJ, Ferrie JE, Marmot MG, Kivimaki M, Singh-Manoux A. Dietary pattern and depressive symptoms in middle age. Br J Psychiatry. 2009 Nov;195(5):408-13.
 Sánchez-Villegas A, Delgado-Rodríguez M, Alonso A, Schlatter J, Lahortiga F, Serra Majem L, Martínez-González MA. Association of the Mediterranean dietary pattern with the incidence of depression: the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra/University of Navarra follow-up (SUN) cohort. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2009 Oct;66(10):1090-8
 Jacka FN, Pasco JA, Mykletun A, Williams LJ, Hodge AM, O'Reilly SL, Nicholson GC, Kotowicz MA, Berk M. Association of Western and traditional diets with depression and anxiety in women. Am J Psychiatry. 2010 Mar;167(3):305-11.
 Pischke CR, Frenda S, Ornish D, Weidner G. Lifestyle changes are related to reductions in depression in persons with elevated coronary risk factors. Psychol Health. 2010 Nov;25(9):1077-100.