Processed Foods Linked to Depression

Dave pointed out a story online today about a London-based research study which concluded that a diet high in fried food, processed meat, high-fat dairy products and sweetened desserts increases the risk of depression. (Actually, just the thought of eating most of this garbage is enough to sour one’s mood…)

The researchers recommend a diet of more “whole” foods such as fresh vegetables, fruit and fish. What I find also particularly interesting in the piece is the following:

Firstly, the high level of antioxidants in fruits and vegetables could have a protective effect, as previous studies have shown higher antioxidant levels to be associated with a lower risk of depression.

Secondly, eating lots of fish may protect against depression because it contains high levels of the sort of polyunsaturated fatty acids which stimulate brain activity.

I believe what they’re referring to is eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid that appears to have neuroprotective effects. This is why I strongly push taking a fish oil supplement. And EPA is not limited to fish sources, either. EPA is also present in lean meats harvested from livestock that have been grass-fed versus grain-fed.

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