3 food groups that may affect anxiety and depression symptoms

Belgian researchers recently published an article in the European Journal of Public Health, showing a connection between diet and symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The researchers analyzed the data of over 2,000 participants from the Belgian National Food Consumption Survey 2014. Participants were 10–64 years of age, and the survey included information about each person’s food intake and symptoms of anxiety and depress (what the researchers described as psychological distress). The researchers examined the relationship between these two datasets using logistic regression models, adjusted for gender, age, education, and energy intake.

As a result, they discovered 3 main themes:

Fruits and vegetables

Participants who ate the highest amount of fruits and vegetables (including nuts, seeds, and olives) had significantly lower odds of showing anxiety and depression symptoms compared to those who ate the least amount.


Those who ate the most sweets were more likely to exhibit anxiety and depression symptoms than those who consumed the smallest amounts of sweets.


The participants who ate breakfast regularly reported lower levels anxiety and depression symptoms compared to those who ate breakfast fewer than 5 times per week.

This is one more study in a growing body of research showing a connection between what we eat and our mental health.