Healthy diets reduce risk of depression

People who eat a diet laden with processed and high-fat foods may be putting themselves at greater risk of depression, according to new research.

But eating a diet with plenty of fresh vegetables, fruit and fish could help prevent the onset of depressive symptoms in middle age, the study in the British Journal of Psychiatry has argued.

Researchers from University College London studied 3,486 participants with an average age of 55. Each of them completed a questionnaire about their eating habits, plus a self-report assessment for depression.

Those with the highest intake of ‘whole food’ were less likely to report having symptoms of depression. In contrast, high consumption of processed food was associated with increased odds of depression.

These associations between diet and the onset of depressive symptoms remained after the researchers controlled other indicators of a healthy lifestyle, such as not smoking, taking physical activity, and a healthy body mass.

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