Could Your Food be Making You Depressed?

A new study from the University of Melbourne has shown that women who have a higher intake of junk food may suffer from higher rates of depression and anxiety.

University of Melbourne researchers have found that mood disorders were more common among women aged 20 to 93 who, over 10 years, ate primarily process, refined, high-fat foods.

Dr. Felice Jacka commented “There's no magic diet.” However, she said that eating a diet mainly of vegetables, fruit, whole grain foods, low fat dairy products and lean meat and reserving processed and sweet treats to “sometimes foods” would aid physical health and may also support mental well-being.

Dr Jacka's team assessed diet and psychiatric evaluations from 1046 women, gathered over a 10-year period.

Of the 1046 women studied, 925 women were free of mood disorders, while 121 had depressive and/or anxiety disorders.

When the researchers assessed how diet might relate to mood disorders, they found that a ‘Western' diet, consisting primarily of hamburgers, white bread, pizza, chips, flavoured milk drinks, beer and sugar-laden foods – was associated with more than a 50% greater likelihood for depressive disorders.

By contrast, both depression and anxiety disorders appeared about 30% less likely among women eating a more healthy diet – consisting mainly of vegetables, fruit, beef, lamb, fish and wholegrain foods.

These associations remained when the research team allowed for a variety of factors, including age, body weight, social and economic status, education, physical activity, smoking and alcohol drinking habits.

Emed's Comment:

Highly processed, junk food and soft drinks are detrimental to our health. Sure, they may taste good, but they are only adding to a plague of ill health, disease, diabetes and mental illness that are striking Australians everyday.

We have no biological need for these foods. Instead of junk foods, we should be filling up on fresh vegies, fruit, lean meats and fish – foods that our bodies need, and food that will help us achieve better health.

Whether it's habit, lack of time or even a lack of willpower – whatever the reason, we must stop buying these foods.

Stick to foods that resemble their natural forms – Doritos don't look like corn, nor does a loaf of bread look like wheat (read here for more information). Keep processed and junk foods for special occasions, and break the habit of reaching for lollies and chocolate. The sooner we realise that these foods are hurting us, the better.

For more information on the importance of eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, refer to our Nutrition section. This collection of articles discusses the significance of diet for our health, and highlights the dangerous illnesses and side-effects that indulging in junk foods can bring. Click here to read more.

In regards to the prevention of depression and anxiety, there are a few natural things we can do to actively lower our chances of developing these devastating mental disorders.

  • Get plenty of vitamin D. Vitamin D is often overlooked in the diagnosis of many illnesses and diseases, however it is one of the most important, and often healing nutrients you can get. ?¬¢Â‚Äö?ᬮ¬¨¬Æ?¬¢Â‚Äö?ᬮ¬¨¬ÆMost of us are vitamin D deficient. Plain and simple. And this wide-spread deficiency could be killing us. Get your vitamin D levels checked with a Vitamin D Level Test, and educate yourself on the important of Vitamin C. Click here for more information.?¬¢Â‚Äö?ᬮ¬¨¬Æ?¬¢Â‚Äö?ᬮ¬¨¬Æ
  • Get moving. Exercise is hugely important for physical and mental health. Exercise boosts serotonin production, which makes us feel happy. Click here for more information.?¬¢Â‚Äö?ᬮ¬¨¬Æ
  • Take a multivitamin. Taking a broad-based multivitamin, like those found under Emed's Best Multivitamins is one of the most important things you can do to prevent depression. B-group vitamins are responsible for energy production and mental health, but despite these important benefits, most of us aren't getting enough.

    Taking a multivitamin everyday can make you feel better, healthier and more energetic. Click here to find out more about the impact of B group vitamins on depression. Also visit Emed's Best Multivitamins for a list of the best and most effective multivitamins in Australia.

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