Pro-inflammatory foods might increase depression in teen girls

Researchers in Iran, Lebanon, and the United States recently published a study in Frontiers in Psychology, showing a connection between eating a pro-inflammatory diet and having depression.

The researchers studied the depression levels and dietary habits of 300 girls between the ages of 15 and 18 years. 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.

What are pro-inflammatory diets?

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?

What they found was that the girls who had the most pro-inflammatory diet had higher depression scores. In fact, their odds of having at least moderate symptoms of depression were nearly 4 times as high as the participants who had a diet that was the least pro-inflammatory.

This is one more study in a growing body of research showing a connection between what we eat and our mental health. Here at Truehope, we’ve been promoting nutrition as mental health treatment for over 25 years.