According to experts at Manchester Metropolitan University, fast food, cakes and processed meat increase your risk of depression.
Cholesterol, saturated fats and carbohydrates–cause depression about 40% more likely.
The researchers analyzed data from 11 existing studies, which concentrated on connections between depression and pro-inflammatory diet–covering over 100,000 people of different ages (16-72 years), gender and ethnicity, across the United States, Australia, Europe and the Middle East.
In addition to a detailed questionnaire of the contents of their diet all studies reported depression and/or depressive symptoms in participants (by self-control, medical diagnosis and/or antidepressants).
According to the food inflammatory index per participant has been given a score of how inflammatory his or her diet is.
Some of the experiments were cross-sectional, using immediately available data and monitoring participants up to 13 years in other studies.
In all studies, participants with a more pro-inflammatory diet are 1.4 times more likely to develop depression or depressive symptoms on average.
The findings were consistent regardless of age or sex–and were similar during short and long periods of follow-up.
Dr. Steven Bradburn is from the Manchester Metropolitan Institute of Healthcare Research Centre. These findings have tremendous therapeutic potential for depressive treatment and, if it is real, other illnesses like Alzheimer’s, which also have a underlying inflammatory component, can be a cheaper alternative to pharmacological interventions which often have side effects, if we simply change our food.
“This study builds on recent advances in other areas, including the first ever clinical trial of dietary interventions for depression, which showed positive changes in stressful symptoms.’ Nonetheless, it should be emphasized that we see our results as a correlation, not causation. More work is needed to confirm the effective regulation of dietary patterns in the processing of depression against inflammation.’ An anti-inflammatory diet— which includes more fibre, vitamins (especially A, C, D) and unsaturated fats, is the opposite and might be used as a treatment for depression.
Therefore, a Mediterranean diet of olive oil, tomatoes, green vegetables and fatty fish may reduce the symptoms of depression.
The natural defense mechanism of the body against pathogens, diseases and contaminants is inflammation. To defend against injury, proteins, antibodies and increased blood flow into affected areas are released, resulting in redness and swelling.
Chronic inflammation, however, alarms the body continuously and was historically associated with diseases such as cancer, asthma and cardiovascular diseases. Such persistent inflammation is thought to lead to neuronal death, particularly in the brain.
The study “Systematic review and meta-analysis as a new treatment for depression disorders” is published in Clinical Nutrition.