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Diet and Pain

Diet and Depression

Chronic pain and depression often go hand in hand. Researchers who have examined the link between the two have found that if you improve symptoms of depression, pain also usually gets better.
 
At this time, there is not enough research to recommend any particular diet for preventing or treating depression. However, research does suggest that certain foods may help with mood.
 
Low vitamin B12 and folate levels can cause a depressed mood, so it's important to make sure you have an adequate intake of these key vitamins. Folate is found in dark green vegetables, fruits, nuts, and legumes. Good sources of vitamin B12 include fish, meat, and dairy products.
 
Most people will get enough of these vitamins through their diet alone. Because vitamin B12 is found in animal sources, however, strict vegetarians and vegans may be vitamin B12 deficient. Older adults may as well, because it's harder for the body to absorb vitamin B12 from food as we age. If in doubt, your healthcare provider can check your vitamin B12 and folate levels with a simple blood test. If you have low levels, your healthcare provider will likely give you a supplement.
 
Low omega-3 fatty acid intake has also been linked to depression. Some studies suggest that eating more omega-3 fatty acids may improve symptoms of depression, though more research is needed.
 
Early research also suggests that people who eat diets rich in vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, and whole grains have a lower chance of being depressed than people who eat diets consisting of processed food, fried food, refined grains, sugar, and beer. It's not entirely clear at this point, however, if healthy diets actually protect against depression, or if people who are depressed are more likely to eat unhealthy foods. That said, a healthy diet low in processed and refined foods is generally a good bet for your health anyway. 
 
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