The MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health has written a great analysis of recent research into the impact of diet and nutrition on mental health. They take a look at two different studies, one published in the Archives of General Psychiatry and the other in the American Journal of Psychiatry, that show that the foods we eat and our weight can lead to higher risk of depression and anxiety, including postpartum depression.

“These findings suggest that a diet rich in processed food leads to higher rates of depressive illness. This has practical implications for our patients, suggesting that it may be prudent to provide nutritional information and interventions focused on incorporating ‘whole foods.’ These are foods such as fruits, vegetables and fish. In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Marlene Freeman of the MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health notes, ‘It is both compelling and daunting to consider that dietary intervention at an individual or population level could reduce rates of psychiatric disorders. There are exciting implications for clinical care, public health and research.'”

I’m embarrassed to say it but I have a terrible diet. I eat way too many carbs and am in love with sugar. On the occasions when I find the willpower to eliminate white flour and sugar and potatoes from my diet and eat meat, fish and vegetables, I feel a WHOLE lot better. I have more energy. More concentration. I think I handle things better. From personal experience and just plain old common sense, I believe this research ison the moneyand it will be interesting to see how (or if) it becomes incorporated into the treatment of women with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.

Sleep and nutrition. Sleep and nutrition. How many problems could we eliminate if we alljust made sure we did those two things right?

Photo credit: © Elena Schweitzer – Fotolia