The Atlantic

The Diet That Might Cure Depression

Several studies show that healthy eating is connected with better mood.
Source: Beawiharta Beawiharta / Reuters

At the turn of the 20th century, prominent physicians who were trying to understand where mental illness comes from seized on a new theory: autointoxication. Intestinal microbes, these doctors suggested, are actually dangerous to their human hosts. They have a way of inducing “fatigue, melancholia, and the neuroses,” as a historical article in the journal Gut Pathogens recounts.

“The control of man’s diet is readily accomplished, but mastery over his intestinal bacterial flora is not,” a doctor named Bond Stow in the in 1914. “The innumerable examples of autointoxication that one sees in his daily walks in life is proof thereof ... malaise, total lack of ambition so that

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