29/03/2021 by MBC Team

Healthy diet and regular exercise for better mood

An analysis of data from 45,826 people has found that weight loss, nutrient boosting and fat reduction diets can all reduce the symptoms of depression.

Dr. Joseph Firth, an Honorary Research fellow at The University of Manchester and Research Fellow at NICM Health Research Institute at Western Sydney University, says existing research has not been able to definitively determine whether dietary improvement could benefit mental health. Therefore, in a new study published in Psychosomatic Medicine, Dr. Firth and his colleagues collected all existing data from clinical trials of diets.

The study provides compelling evidence that improving diet significantly reduces the symptoms of depression, even in people without diagnosed depressive disorders. The study combined data from 16 randomized controlled trials, including the results of 45,826 participants and looked at the effects of dietary interventions on symptoms of depression and anxiety.

"Specifically, our results within this study found that when dietary interventions were combined with exercise, a greater improvement in depressive symptoms was experienced by people. Taken together, our data really highlight the central role of eating a healthier diet and taking regular exercise to act as a viable treatment to help people with low mood." says Dr. Brendon Stubbs, co-author of the study and Clinical Lecturer at the NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre and King's College London.


Joseph Firth, Wolfgang Marx, Sarah Dash, Rebekah Carney, Scott B Teasdale, Marco Solmi, Brendon Stubbs, Felipe B. Schuch, André F. Carvalho, Felice Jacka, Jerome Sarris. The effects of dietary improvement on symptoms of depression and anxiety. Psychosomatic Medicine, 2019; 1 DOI: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000673