A new study has shown that simply adopting a healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables, instead of processed meats, can help defeat depression.
Almudena Sanchez-Villegas, field expert with the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and one of the study’s authors, offered a statement informing that people who want to diminish their risk of experiencing depression “can eat everything, but everything in moderation”. But there’s a catch. They have to remember to eat plenty of fruits, nuts, vegetables, and fish on a regular basis.
And, at the same time, they have to make sure to avoid eating fast food products and processed meats at all costs, as these are suspected of having the adverse effect.
A group of researchers from Spain came to this conclusion after surveying 15.000 university graduates on two (2) different occasions – once when the project started, and then again, 10 years later. None of the graduates had had any problems with depression before enrolling in the study.
The research team asked them about the foods that they normally ate, and the ones that they normally avoided, then the field experts used this information to assess how closely each individual’s everyday diet resembled one (1) of three (3) well known healthy dietary patterns.
All three (3) patterns center around the high consumption of vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, and fish, and all three (3) of them center around the avoidance of unhealthy foods such as processed meats.
The second survey revealed that 1.550 of all subjects said that they either received a depression diagnostic or started taking antidepressant drugs in up to 8.5 years after they gave their original answers.
After analyzing the second round of answers, Sanchez-Villegas and his team noticed that the subjects who kept holding on to their former healthy eating patterns to a high, or even a moderate degree, had fewer chances of developing depression, compared to the subjects who strayed from their former healthy eating patterns, as well as the subjects who kept holding on to their former healthy eating patterns to a low degree.
Both the subjects who followed a healthy diet to a high degree, as well as those who followed a healthy diet to moderate degree, reduced their chances of developing depression by somewhere between 25 percent (25%) and 30 percent (30%), compared to those who strayed from their former healthy eating patterns, as well as the ones who only kept holding on to their former healthy eating patterns to a low degree.
Sanchez-Villegas said that “Even a moderate adherence to these healthy dietary patterns […] was associated with an important reduction in the risk of developing depression”.
One likely explanation as to why healthy diets contribute so positively to an individual’s mental health is that people who prefer to adopt such a diet generally have better levels of zinc, folate, vitamin B, and other such micronutrients.
The findings were published earlier this week, on September 16, 2015, in the journal BMC Medicine.
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