Millions of adolescents age twelve to seventeen have dealt with the effects of depression. Although it can be caused by a number of factors, one that tends to go overlooked is diet. A diet containing lots of processed or unhealthy foods, for example, may be contributing to the depression.
The potassium and sodium levels of several adolescents were evaluated as part of a University of Alabama at Birmingham study. Elevated levels of sodium may serve as an indicator of a diet where elevated levels of sodium are being consumed and this is often a result of consuming snacks that are high in salt as well as processed foods. Below average levels of potassium, on the other hand, could mean a diet where there is a lack of vegetables, fruit, and other foods that are rich in potassium.
Sure enough, the increased and decreased levels of sodium and potassium, respectively, were tied to greater symptoms of depression. As to what’s causing these symptoms, unhealthy foods could be negatively affecting neurotransmitters and functions in the brain that manage emotions. Furthermore, an unhealthy diet may also be causing disturbances in the gut microbiome.
It’s worth noting that although the study focused on teens, adults may also be susceptible to poorer mental health if they are consuming a poor diet.
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