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The Gut-Brain Connection: Can a balanced diet reduce depressive symptoms?

posted Jun 24, 2013, 1:49 PM by Megan Black   [ updated Jun 24, 2013, 1:53 PM by Tascheleia Marangoni ]

Some research suggests that diet plays a key role in the prevention and treatment of depression. The relationship between diet and depression is a new and interesting field that has only emerged in the past 5 to 10 years. Most recently, the “gut-brain connection” has been explored. A 2013 study published from the journal titled Neurogastroenterology and Motility found that “anxiety and depression are linked to functional abdominal pain, not only in subjects with irritable bowel syndrome but also in otherwise healthy people.” In other words, the brain has a direct effect on the stomach and vice versa. For example, an individual’s “intestinal distress can be either the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression”.

The gut-brain connection can significantly influence both your physical and mental health. Consequently, this is why eating a healthy balanced diet is so important. A 2010 study from the American Journal of Psychiatry reported “a traditional dietary pattern characterized by vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, and whole grains was associated with lower odds for major depression or dysthymia and for anxiety disorders. Whereas a western diet of processed or fried foods, refined grains, sugary products, and beer were associated with a higher anxiety-depression score.”

We know the choices we make concerning the foods we eat impact both our mental and physical well-being. However, what are these “healthy food choices?” More importantly, are they quick and easy to make for yourself and your family? Below you will find some quick and easy healthy recipes and snack ideas to incorporate into you diet!

Bon appétit!


·      Spinach egg Omelette

·      Breakfast cereal


·      Simple salad

·      Raw Tabouli Hemp Seed Salad

·      Ananda Burrito Recipe

·      Raw Taco Mexican Salad


·      Sockeye Salmon

·      Vegetarian Stir Fry

·      Grass fed beef burger 

·      Rainbow stuffed peppers

Snack Ideas:

·      Banana and oatmeal (Try steel-cut oats, topped with some cinnamon and even a little stevia. If you are pressed     for time and are going to use instant oatmeal, opt for the low sugar varieties.)

·      Mango

·      Apricot

·      Avocado and a low sodium salsa

·      Grapes and cottage cheese

·      Sweet potato and cinnamon

·      Unsalted raw organic almonds

·      Chia Seed Delight



By: Megan Black  B.Sc.


Sanchez-Villegas, A., & Martínez-González, M. A. (2013). Diet, a new target to prevent depression?. BMC Medicine, 11(1), 1-4. doi:10.1186/1741-7015-11-3