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Killing ourselves softly: studies support food-depression link

by: Mike Bundrant, May 23, 2012

Science is finally starting to catch up with what many health-conscious people have long suspected: the strong link between the foods we eat and the likelihood of developing depression, the mental health malady that impacts more than 120 million people worldwide.

In 2012, scientists from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the University of Granada studied almost 9,000 participants who had never before been diagnosed with depression. The half-year study, published in the journal Public Health Nutrition, clearly revealed that people who ate fast foods, fried foods and commercially baked pastry products were 51 percent more likely to develop depression compared to those that didn't.

Almudena Sanchez-Villegas, lead author of the study, strongly encouraged people to avoid cakes, croissants, doughnuts, etc., as well as common fast foods such as hamburgers, hotdogs and the like. She said, "Even eating small quantities is linked to a significantly higher chance of developing depression."

The researchers indicated that perhaps trans-fats and saturated fats were the main culprits. Other research shows that trans-fats increase the risk of heart disease and can trigger inflammation in both the body and brain, which interferes with our brain's neurotransmitters, thus affecting our mood.?

And this is just the beginning!

On top of trans-fats we can add herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, antibiotics, nitrates, preservatives, artificial colors/flavors, synthetic hormones, genetically modified food, irradiated food, artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, lots of overly refined/processed food and a dash of simple sugars, carbohydrates and refined grains!

How do you think our immune system might react to these lovely additions? Kind of makes you wonder what diagnosis would be worse than "severe clinical depression." Perhaps the answer is "early death by poisoning."

In another study, conducted over a five-year period and published in The British Journal of Psychiatry, researchers had 3,500 men and women participants "enjoy" a diet high in processed meat, sweet desserts, fried food, ordinary chocolates, refined cereals and high-fat dairy products. Results? Participants were 58 percent more likely to be depressed than those who ate mostly fruit, vegetables and fish.

Reflecting on this study and searching for main causes, famed doctor, Andrew Weil, M.D., stated: "I'm convinced that depression may represent just one manifestation of increased inflammation throughout the body. The fats in junk foods may well contribute to depression because they are pro-inflammatory."

In a study published in the January 2010 edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry, researchers found a direct correlation between the consumption of processed foods and the incidence of depression and anxiety. Common junk foods used in the study included enriched flour, deli meats, snack products, artificial sweeteners and added sugars found in commercial fruit juice and dessert items.

In an amazing admission of just how reluctant mainstream medicine is in researching how foods impact our mental and physical health, study researchers (proudly) reported that their research was likely "The first to present data suggesting that the significant impact of diet quality on common...chronic diseases extends to the high-prevalence mental illnesses." The food-depression phenomenon should have been research 50 years ago, not two years ago!

So what's a human to do?

Most health-conscious experts believe that, whenever possible, one should consume whole, clean, natural foods and/or organic foods and/or high-quality supplements that contain plenty of B vitamins, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids as well as other anti-inflammatory foods/supplements, along with health-protective vegetables, fruits and whole grains and healthy fats and oils, such as olive oil. For your health and for the health of your family and loved ones, avoid junk foods whenever possible...unless you, like, totally enjoy being depressed.