Poor nutrition can spur risk of anxiety, depression & diabetes

A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy lowers risks for both Type 2 diabetes and mental health disorders.

Representative image (Photo: IANS)
Representative image (Photo: IANS)
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IANS

Poor nutrition plays a dual role, contributing to both the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and impacting mental health, including anxiety and depression, two studies have shown.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with diabetes are two-to-three times more likely to have depression than people without.

Current treatment includes therapy, medicine, or both. However, the understanding of the multifaceted relationship between nutrition, mental health, and DM is relatively new in scientific discourse.

In the studies, published in the journal Nutrients, the researchers sought to learn about the connection between nutrition, diabetes, and mental health.

Their findings showed that mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety, increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, and diabetes is also linked with an increased risk of developing depression and anxiety. Nutrition interventions can aid in both of these health issues.

"Our findings underscore the pivotal role of dietary choices in reducing the risks associated with both diabetes and mental health. The implications of these findings extend beyond the scientific community, as they hold promise for informing public health policies, health care practices, and dietary recommendations that can positively impact the general population," said lead author Raedeh Basiri, Assistant Professor at the George Mason University in the US.

"Ultimately, the research seeks to empower individuals to make informed and health-promoting dietary choices that can serve as a proactive strategy for the prevention and management of diabetes, as well as anxiety and depression," Basiri said.

The team found that eating foods rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy is associated with a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes and mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Conversely, a diet with a large number of processed foods was found to have a negative effect, increasing the susceptibility to type 2 diabetes, depression, and anxiety.

In addition, the research team found that a diet with energy-dense foods but lacking in essential nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folate, selenium, chromium, and magnesium, is associated with the exacerbation of unfavourable symptoms in both mental health and the development of Type 2 diabetes.

This connection emphasises the importance of nutrient-rich dietary choices for overall health and well-being.

"Current scientific evidence underscores the potential benefits of adopting a well-balanced dietary regimen in decreasing anxiety and depression symptoms while enhancing glycemic control in individuals with diabetes," said Basiri.

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