In December 2018, British researchers published a study showing a connection between processed food and depression risk.
The researchers analyzed data from 11 other studies, which involved a total of over 100,000 participants in Australia, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. They focused on links between depression and so-called inflammation diets.
What the researchers found common to the studies was that participants who consumed a pro-inflammatory diet were 1.4 times more likely, on average, to have depressive symptoms. And this was regardless of age or gender and remained consistent in the short term and long term.
A pro-inflammation diet is one that is high in cholesterol, saturated fats, and carbohydrates, which is typical of Western diets, heavy on fast foods and sweets.
According to the researchers, an anti-inflammatory diet can have the opposite effect and even be used as a depression treatment. These diets are high in fibre, vitamins, and unsaturated fats, such as the Mediterranean diet.
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 20 years.