Helfimed A 90-page recipe book covering the Mediterranean Diet, including shopping and budgetary tips. Combiled by Natalie Parletta, Dorota Zarnowiecki, Svetlana Bogomolova, and Amy Wilson. Click to download.
Mental Health Grocery List The foods on this list are good sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Folate, Folic Acid, Vitamin D, or Vitamin B12—all of which are backed by scientific research to affect brain health (but not replace treatment for mental health disorders). Click to download.
Diet and Nutrition The quality of the food you eat can impact your overall physical and mental health. Eating nutritious foods can go a long way toward achieving a healthy lifestyle, so make every bite count. Click to download.
Background A healthy diet is associated with an approximately 30% reduction in the risk for depression and a 40% improvement in cognition. We don’t know exactly how the diet works, but there are several possibilities. Healthy diets are anti-inflammatory, and inflammation is both a cause and consequence of depression. These foods are also rich in nutrients that are essential to brain function, like magnesium, folate, and B-vitamins. They also improve brain plasticity. For example, brain-derived neuroprotective factor (BDNF) levels rise with a healthy diet, an effect that we also see with antidepressants and aerobic exercise. Diet has well-documented effects on the hippocampus, which is involved in memory and depression. High-fat and high-sugar diets can impair hippocampal-dependent memory in as little as 5 days. The hippocampus shrinks with age, but according to our human study, as much as 60% of that atrophy may be related to the quality of one’s diet (Jacka FN et al, BMC Med 2015;13:215). Read the full Expert Q&A "An Antidepressant Diet."