Depression may be prevented by following a diet rich in fresh farm-produced crops and goods, rather than processed meats, a new study says.
Almudena Sancez-Villegas, a professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is of opinion that as long as people try and eat fruits, vegetable, fish, nuts, and whole-grain products, and stay away from processed meats, fast food, and sugary foods, their risk of depression will be significantly lower.
In the study, 15,000 university graduates from Spain, who had never suffered from depression, were asked to give information on what they ate on a regular basis.
When analysing the results, the researchers looked at how closely the dietary patterns of the university graduates matched three healthy dietary patterns that involved consuming a lot of vegetables, fruits, fish, and nuts.
The study was conducted over an 8.5-year period. At the end of the study, the results showed that about 1,550 people were using antidepressant drugs or were diagnosed with depression.
Researchers found that the people who followed healthy diets to a greater extent were less exposed to the risk of depression, as opposed to those who followed the diets to a small extent, or those who did not follow them at all.
The study showed that the risk of depression for those who ate healthy meals each day was in fact 25 to 30 percent lower, than for those who ate only small amount of healthy, unprocessed foods per day, or for those who only ate unhealthy food.
“Even moderate adherence to these healthy dietary patterns was associated with an important reduction in the risk of developing depression,” explained Sanchez-Villegas.
The researchers are unsure of what the link between the risk of depression and people’s dietary patterns is. One possible explanation may be that people who consume healthy foods get enough amounts of micronutrients – zinc, B vitamins – that help the human body to run at full capacity. These are also essential for well-functioning of the brain, Sanchez-Villegas says.
That may explain why people who do not follow these dietary patterns are more likely to become depressed.
Image Source: mountainheartcares