Depression is the number 1 cause of disability among those between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States.
Causes are constantly searched for, treatments experimented with, and prescriptions prescribed.
But what if modern, processed food diets are once again rearing their ugly heads and resulting in increased mental health disorders?
A study published in the September 2017 issue of the journal Psychiatry Research may help to shed more light on this.
Researchers out of Iran, China, and the UK analyzed whether or not the DASH diet could lower risk of depression in adolescent girls.
The DASH diet (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) is a diet that is typified by whole foods, high intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes while being low in red and processed meats, refined grains, and sweetened beverages. It is also high in nutrients known to help lower blood pressure, like potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
What the researchers found may begin to show us the important factors in diet that can help us prevent of even begin to reverse depression.
After adjusting for a litany of non-dietary risk factors for depression, the researchers found some very encouraging information.
They found that those adolescent girls who adhered most closely to a DASH-style diet had significantly lower odds of depression to the tune of an odds risk of just 0.47.
What does this ultimately mean?
Importantly, this is just the beginning.
More studies are needed to determine just what, if anything, within the DASH diet could be responsible for this significantly lowered risk.
For instance, does the diet as a whole influence these results? Or are there specific foods within the diet that, when eaten in higher quantities, are responsible for lowering risk?
Or is it what the diet doesn’t include, namely processed foods, refined grains and sweetened beverages, that result in this lowered risk?
This study does not give us those answers, but it does spur us to ask good questions.
What it also does is give us an indicator that the negative impact of high-processed food diets may extend well beyond the physical and to the mental as well.
And we need to be cognizant of this if we are to effectively end the scourge of modern-day depression.
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