The new research claims probiotic bacteria found in live-culture yogurt could make it easier to alleviate the symptoms of depression in mice, and they hope to extend the study to humans.
Researchers from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in the USA found that gut bacteria can play a part in depression, by studying mice before and after they were subjected to stress.
Feeding them the bacteria Lactobacillus returned them to a normal mood, and getting rid of it brought the depressed symptoms back.
They found that the amount of Lactobacillus in the gut affects the level of kynurenine in the blood, which has been shown to cause signs of depression.
Lead researcher Alban Gaultier said the findings could mean patients won’t have to “bother with complex drugs and side effects," and instead experiment with their 'microbiome' of gut bacteria.
Diet has long been linked to mood, and while there have been reports recently that intensive weightloss has been connected to an increase in depression, NHS Choices said more research is needed and headlines were 'not justified'.
However, there are foods which have been show to have an impact on mental health - both positive and negative.
Which food should I eat to feel less depressed?
Fish, a rich source of these fatty acids, has shown in studies that people who eat less of it are more likely to have depression. Good sources of omega-3s include fatty fishes like anchovy, mackerel, salmon, sardines, shad, and tuna, or Flaxseed.
Turkey is rich in Tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin a neurotransmitter which helps you feel calm
Eggs are similarly a high protein food and the yokes are a good source of tryptophan.
Beef and foods Rich in Vitamin B - a deficiency in B vitamins such as folic acid and B12 can trigger depression.
Whole grains, such as whole wheat bread or brown rice provide s low release of mood lifting carbs, as opposed to processed sugars, sweets and white bread, which give an initial sugar surge and an insulin surge, which can then leave you with low blood sugar, ultimately feeling lethargic.
What should I avoid?
Coffee and other caffeinated drinks might boost energy but they inhibit serotonin levels in the brain. They can also lead to dehydration which can cause depression. It can also cause a lack of sleep which is essential to a positive mood.
Sweets, and sugary food generally - it's taken up into the blood stream too quickly and leaves you with less energy in the long run.
Alcohol - that warm feeling doesn't last. It's a depressant and a diuretic, so drink in moderation and top up with the odd glass of water to stay hydrated.