The everyday diet can make a tremendous impact on a person’s well-being. Sure, the food a person chooses to ingest can play a part in their physical health, but new research is showing it also plays a role in their mental health as well.
According to a piece in Psych Central, a well-rounded, healthy diet may protect against depression in middle-aged people. This finding is part of a study conducted by researchers at the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London (UCL), UK and the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM), University of Montpellier, France.
To come to this conclusion, scientists compared the incidence of depression among individuals who consume a diet consisting of a high proportion of fruits, vegetables and fish to that of individuals who consume a diet high in proportions of high-fat dairy food, processed meat, fried food, refined grains and sugar-laden desserts.
The study included data on 3,486 individuals with an average age of 57 years. These individuals were part of the Whitehall II study. In using this data, researchers were able to identify two dietary patterns: a whole food diet and a processed food diet.
Study results revealed that a whole food diet was consistent with a 26 percent lower risk for depression. At the same time, a high processed diet was associated with a 58 percent change of depression – five years later.
The researchers concluded that: “In middle-aged participants, a processed food dietary pattern is a risk factor for CES-D depression 5 years later, whereas a whole food pattern is protective.”