Healthy diets could help reduce risk of metabolic syndrome in people with depression

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Depression is a mental health disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. It can cause feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest in things that once brought joy.

In addition to its emotional toll, depression can also impact physical health.

Studies have shown that people with depression are at increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome (MetS), a condition characterized by a combination of health problems such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and excess body fat around the waist.

The link between depression and MetS is complex and multifactorial. One of the main contributing factors is unhealthy eating habits.

Depression can cause changes in appetite and motivation, leading to a tendency to overeat or make unhealthy food choices.

Over time, this can lead to weight gain, high blood sugar, and other risk factors for MetS.

To better understand this relationship, a group of researchers in Korea conducted a study involving over 13,000 adults aged 19 to 80.

The participants were asked questions about their mood and eating habits, and their physical health was assessed using a variety of measures, including blood pressure, blood sugar, and waist circumference.

The researchers found that depression severity was positively associated with the risk of MetS. In other words, the more severe the depression, the greater the risk of developing MetS.

However, they also found that diet quality could modify this relationship. Participants who ate a healthy diet were less likely to develop MetS, even if they had depression.

Diet quality was measured using the Korean Healthy Eating Index (KHEI), a tool that assesses the intake of various food groups and nutrients.

Participants were divided into three subgroups based on their depression severity (normal, mild, or moderate-to-severe) and stratified by tertiles of KHEI scores.

The results showed that only the group with the lowest diet quality and moderate-to-severe depression had a significantly higher risk of MetS compared to the normal group.

In other words, healthy eating habits appeared to offset the increased risk of metabolic syndrome (MetS) associated with depression.

This finding has important implications for public health. Encouraging healthy eating habits could help mitigate the negative impact of depression on physical health.

It could also help improve mental health, as research has shown that a healthy diet is associated with a lower risk of depression and other mental health disorders.

However, changing eating habits can be challenging, especially for people with depression.

The researchers note that additional interventions may be needed to support healthy eating, such as counseling or nutritional education.

They also emphasize the need for further research to explore the mechanisms underlying the relationship between depression, diet, and MetS.

In conclusion, this study highlights the importance of taking care of both our mental and physical health.

By eating a healthy diet and seeking treatment for depression, we can reduce our risk of developing MetS and improve our overall well-being.

What to eat to reduce metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a condition characterized by a combination of health problems, including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and excess body fat around the waist.

Eating a healthy diet can help reduce the risk of MetS and its associated health complications. Here are some dietary recommendations to consider:

Eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods: This includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. These foods provide a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that support overall health.

Limit saturated and trans fats: These types of fats can raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease. Instead, choose healthy fats such as those found in nuts, seeds, and fish.

Choose low-glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates: High GI carbohydrates can cause spikes in blood sugar levels, which can contribute to MetS.

Low GI carbohydrates, such as whole grains, legumes, and non-starchy vegetables, are digested more slowly and can help stabilize blood sugar.

Reduce sodium intake: Eating too much sodium can raise blood pressure, which is a key component of MetS. Aim to consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day.

Limit added sugars: Added sugars, such as those found in sugary drinks and processed foods, can contribute to weight gain and high blood sugar levels. Try to limit added sugars to less than 10% of your daily calories.

In addition to these dietary recommendations, it’s also important to maintain a healthy weight, engage in regular physical activity, and manage stress levels. By making these lifestyle changes, you can help reduce your risk of MetS and improve your overall health.

The research is published in Nutrients and was conducted by In Seon Kim et al.

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