Inflammation in the brain is associated with the development of mood disorders. This occurs because inflammation can cause damage to tissues via the generation of free radicals. A number of studies have shown that control of these free radicals, either through reductions in the cause of inflammation or through direct quenching of the free radicals is pivotal to the treatment of mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. Using food frequency questionnaires, studies have shown that total dietary antioxidant intake is inversely associated with depression. Further, those with the highest intake of antioxidants have a significantly lower risk of developing anxiety compared to those with the lowest intake of antioxidants. Total antioxidant intake is also associated with sleep, and those whose diets contain more antioxidants report significantly better sleep patterns compared to those with antioxidant poor diets. Eating high in antioxidants may therefore be protective of anxiety and depression.
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