When it comes to mental health, a plant-based diet may be even better for you than previously thought. Yes, eating lots of fruits and veggies is great for maintaining healthy weight, stable blood sugar levels, a healthy heart and clearer skin. Beside these, a recent studies have shown that a plant-based diet can do even more. Well, a plant-based diet can reduce depression and even boost creativity. It may sound like futuristic biohacking, but the journey towards a healthy mind may be as simple as adding more greens onto your plate.
Let’s dig into depression first. According to a recent research, the more plants we eat, the lower our risk is for developing depression. In their study, researchers asked participants to answer a questionnaire about their eating habits and their depression risk factors. According to the collected data, participants who consumed a mostly plant-based diet were less likely to develop depression—11 % less likely. In contrast, those who consumed very few fruits and veggies (as we do in the traditional Western diet) were more likely to develop depression.
With over 16 million American adults diagnosed with major depression, not to mention more mild forms of the condition, this is promising news for those who choose to avoid pharmaceuticals because of the unpleasant side effects. In certain cases, a simple dietary reset may be all we need to keep depression at bay.
And let’s remember that plant-based eating doesn’t just help depression. It also gives your creativity and sense of curiosity a major boost. Two studies published in the British Journal of Health Psychology linked plant-consumption with an increased sense of creativity and curiosity, as well as an enhanced sense of overall wellbeing. So if you are trying to be more creative, eat like an artist. No, I’m not talking about sipping merlot all night. Feed your creative mind by loading your plate with a diverse array of plants at all meals.
Wondering why eating more fruits and veggies can have such a powerful impact on the brain? An argument could be made that if one is eating mostly plants, they are eating a low-sugar diet. Too much sugar causes inflammation in the body, which can hinder mental capabilities. On the other hand, fruits and veggies are rich in anti-inflammatory bioflavonoids and antioxidants, both of which reduce inflammation as well as promote blood flow, which allows for clearer, sharper thinking and better functioning overall.
Eating a plant-based diet isn’t difficult. Whether you are a mindful meat eater or a dedicated vegan, we can all benefit from eating vastly more plants. Who knows, maybe all you need is a nice plate of pesto zoodles to spark inspiration or brighten your mood?