Pro-inflammatory foods might increase depression and anxiety

Earlier this month, Irish and American researchers published a study in Clinical Nutrition, showing a connection between mental health and a pro inflammation diet.

The researchers assessed the diet and mental health of over 2,000 adults. The looked for inflammatory diets and cross checked that against general well-being and symptoms of depression and anxiety.

What are pro-inflammatory diets?

Researchers used the Dietary Inflammatory Index to calculate an inflammatory score of participants’ diets. This score rates diets on a continuum of anti-inflammatory to pro-inflammatory.

While not specifically part of the Dietary Inflammatory Index, the following foods can cause inflammation, according the the Arthritis Foundation:

  1. Sugar
  2. Saturated fats
  3. Trans fats
  4. Omega 6 fatty acids
  5. Refined carbohydrates (such as white flour, white rice, and potatoes)
  6. MSG
  7. Gluten
  8. Casein

What did the researchers find?

Well, they discovered that diets scored as being pro-inflammatory were connected to an increased risk of depression and anxiety symptoms and a lower likelihood of general well-being.

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