Diet and Depression
What we eat is important for every aspect of our health, but it is especially important for our mental health. When someone is dealing with depression, it is not uncommon to see a change in their appetite.
Depression can cause us to eat more frequently and unhealthily, and can also lead to a loss of appetite, skipping meals, and a sweet tooth.
According to Lang, et al., an unhealthy western dietary pattern was associated with an increased prevalence of depression (2015). Additionally, an increased risk of depression has been shown to be associated with the consumption of unhealthy foods, such as refined food, fried food, a high fat intake, etc. On the other end of this, a diet consisting of a high intake of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, antioxidants, and a low intake of animal foods is associated with a decreased risk of depression (Tello, M., 2020).
Keeping this in mind, it’s helpful to find strategies that can help avoid food traps, such as:
Overall, our diet plays an important role in how we feel. While there are many factors at play when dealing with depression, eating foods such as fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and whole grains can put you at a lower risk of developing depressive symptoms. When it comes to what we eat, quality matters over quantity. By better understanding the role our diet plays in our mood, we’re able to make better choices.
Lang, U., et al.(2015). Nutritional Aspects of Depression. Cell Physiol Biochem; 37:1029-1043. doi:
Martin, L. (2011). Depression Food Traps: Eating too Much, Eating too Little, and Unhealthy Choices.
WebMD. Retrieved February 1, 2023, from
Tello, M. (2020). Diet and depression. Harvard Health. Retrieved February 1, 2023, from
Counseling student at Sul Ross State University. Enjoys working with teens, preteens, young adults and more.
Elizabeth Oldham is an LPC-S and co-founder of Transform & Renew, PLLC. She specializes in co-dependency, anxiety and OCD, depression and mood disorders.