How Your Diet is Making You Depressed

Your daily dietary choices may be upping your risk of depression by more than 40 percent, according to a new study.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a long-term analysis of the eating habits and subsequent mental health of 43,000 women. Those who regularly ate certain foods—specifically, refined grains, red meat and soda—saw their chances of being diagnosed with depression increase by anywhere from 29 to 41 percent.

Study authors believe the findings highlight the connection between diet and depression, which lies (at least partially) in the inflammation caused by an out-of-control immune response.

Prior research has linked low-grade inflammation with depression and other mental disorders, but the precise biological mechanics of the link aren’t completely clear, according to study co-author, Michel Lucas, Ph.D.

Foods to Fight Inflammation

One thing that is clear is that the right diet can do wonders for your overall physical and mental wellbeing.
While there are countless iterations of the “anti-inflammatory diet,” most follow a general set of guidelines:

  • Whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, bulgur wheat, etc.) are better alternatives to refined carbohydrates, such as white rice and pasta made with white flour.
  • You can never eat too many organic fruits and veggies.
  • Protein is best consumed in the form of fish, chicken, beans and nuts. Consumption of red meat and full-fat dairy products should be minimized.
  • Though it may seem counterintuitive, strong spices including cayenne, curry, ginger, garlic, cinnamon and turmeric all have anti-inflammatory properties.

A different study done by Lucas also found that women who consumed four or more cups of caffeinated coffee each day had a 20 percent lower risk of developing depression than those who drank less.

Related
The Scary Truth About Depression and Dementia
6 Food Tips to Help You Fall Asleep
The Simple Dietary Tweak That Can Keep your Brain Healthy
Top 3 Health Benefits of Mediterranean Diet Foods
In Pain? Blame Your Brain
5 Strategies to Fight Inflammation

: By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com Editor

489 comments

Christine Jones
Christine J.10 months ago

Very interesting. I try and limit my consumption of the foods listed.
I wonder about four or more cups of coffee a day though; you'd probably be too hyper to be depressed but I don't think it'd be good for you.

Dale O.

I love ginger, heather g and homemade ginger root tea is one of my favourite teas.
Agreed, Pamela W.

"Those who regularly ate certain foods—specifically, refined grains, red meat and soda..."

It always helps to eat a well-balanced diet. There is nothing wrong with red meat, as long as it is pasture-organically raised. Certainly, refined grains have a lot of the goodness taken out of them. Some people say that eating grains is bad for people, but I still happen to love organic grains as well as fresh veggies and fruit, right out of the garden. That never makes me depressed...but thinking that the growing season is coming to an end and then no more fresh garden veggies after the frost hits...that is a depressing thought right there.

Elisa F.
Elisa F.2 years ago

Food for Thought :) Thanks for Sharing.

Natalie Descent
Natalie Descent2 years ago

I should drink less diet soda and more Chai tea I guess! Thanks.

heather g.
heather g.2 years ago

Good diet and most importantly, lots of exercise.

On one of his recent shows, Dr Oz recommended a few slices of ginger in hot water and to drink this as a tea. It's almost addictive..... of course, you don't ever have to think of taking anti-acids again !

Alison A.
Alison A.2 years ago

Thanks for posting.

Margaret M. F.
Margaret M. F.2 years ago

Thank-you for posting this interesting article.

Valerie A.
Valerie A.2 years ago

Thanks

Lillian Martin
Lillian Martin2 years ago

Very interesting. Due to economics, I don't eat much red meat, so this is easy for me to do.

Mary L.
Mary L.2 years ago

Cheese makes me happy.