Many observational studies have uncovered evidence that your risk for depression can be reduced by maintaining a healthy diet of plant foods, such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, raw nuts, and lean proteins like fish. In short, by eating what is defined as the Mediterranean Diet.
Even more evidence emerged in a study with volunteers suffering from moderate to severe depression, who were tested over three months. Thirty one persons were in the Mediterranean diet group, while the 'control' group of 25 persons received only social support.
During the three months, members of both groups were given depression severity assessments. By the end of the study, it was clear to the research team that those in the Mediterranean Diet group had improved their mental health markedly (32% achieved scores so low they discontinued anti-depression medications) showing that "dietary improvement may provide an efficacious and accessible treatment strategy for the management of this highly prevalent mental disorder."
What also emerged from this and previous studies is a list of foods to avoid in order to reduce depression risk. These include sweets, refined cereals, fried food, fast food, processed meals, and sugary drinks. Alcohol consumption should be avoided, with the exception of two glasses of red wine, to only be consumed with meals.
One theory about the link between diet and mood disorders concerns the role of inflammation, which is raised or reduced in the body depending on diet quality. Depression may be the brain's response to the presence of inflammation in a person's body.
"A randomised controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major depression." Jacka FN. Et al. BMC Medicine. 2017 January.