Dieting is no easy feat, but the rewards—a slimmer waistline, more energy and a healthier body, among others—can be well worth it. One diet in particular, the DASH diet, has been rated the number-one diet in America by U.S. News and World Report a whopping eight years in a row. Created by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) as a diet to help reduce high blood pressure, DASH involves eating foods that are low in sugar, saturated fat and sodium, and has consistently been praised by experts as one of the most effective diets for weight loss.
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And now, the results of a new study are showing yet another big-time benefit of DASH: a reduced risk for depression, which affects roughly 16.2 million adults in United States and is one of the most common mental health conditions. Researchers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago followed 964 adults for an average of 6.5 years and discovered that people who consistently followed the diet were 11 percent less likely to experience depression than people who didn’t stick to the diet.
Study co-author, Dr. Laurel Cherian, wrote in the abstract: “Future studies are now needed to confirm these results and to determine the best nutritional components of the DASH diet to prevent depression later in life and to best help people keep their brains healthy.” However, in the meantime, adhering to a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains may be helpful in lowering risk for the mental illness. It’s not easy giving up processed foods, but when the trade-off could mean the difference between a positive outlook and a negative one, or even something more severe, it’s worth giving it a try.
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