Usually, it takes more than one small diet change to make a difference in depression symptoms. However, a small new study suggests that one particular food might help ease depression in people with type 2 diabetes, especially when used as a replacement for other carbohydrates in the diet.
The small randomized control trial involved 45 Chinese adults who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes but who had not necessarily been diagnosed with depression. Their average score on the PROMIS depression scale was 49, just below the 55-point limit for mild depression.
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The subjects were advised to adopt a low-fat and low-carb diet rich in vegetables and protein and low in salt. The control group was given permission to indulge in a daily 300-gram serving of carbohydrates, such as rice or noodles, while the experimental group was asked to cut that amount in half and replace it with about half a cup of almonds (56 grams).
Participants in the almond group saw a reduction in their self-reported depression symptoms via the PROMIS scale after three months, while the control group’s average mood did not change.
Both diets improved participants’ metabolic parameters, including weight and HbA1c, but the almond group had a slightly better reduction in HbA1c. Microbiome biodiversity also improved in both groups, but the almond group showed a significant increase in bacterial species that produce short-chain fatty acids, which promote the production of peptide-1 and can help lower appetite and regulate insulin.
Because of the study’s small sample size and the fact that the almonds were a replacement for other carb-laden foods rather than an addition to the participants’ diets, more research is needed to truly understand the relationship between almonds, depression, and diabetes metrics.
For now, however, if you like almonds and you’re dealing with depression, it couldn’t hurt to try eating more almonds (on top of following a low-carb diet with plenty of vegetables and protein) in an attempt to boost your mood. We wish you luck, and we can’t wait to see more research on this topic.Whizzco