January 27, 2011

Poor Eating = Depression

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Eating foods pumped full of trans-fats and saturated fats increases the risk of suffering from depression, according to a new study. However, researchers found that consuming olive oil protects against this illness.

Investigators confirmed their theory after studying 12,059 volunteers over a six-year period. The participants had their diet, lifestyle, and ailments analyzed three times throughout the study. At the beginning of the study, none of the volunteers had depression, and by the end, 657 new cases had been diagnosed.

Of all these cases, the participants with an elevated consumption of trans-fats (fats present in artificial form in industrially-produced pastries and fast food and naturally present in certain whole milk products) presented up to a 48-percent increase in the risk of depression when they were compared to participants who did not consume these fats.

In addition, the study proved a dose-response relationship. The more trans-fats that were consumed, the greater the harmful effect they produced in the volunteers.

Furthermore, a team led by Miguel Ángel Martínez-González, Professor of Preventive Medicine at the University of Navarra, analyzed the influence of polyunsaturated fats (abundant in fish and vegetable oils) and of olive oil on the occurrence of depression. "In fact, we discovered that these types of healthier fats, together with olive oil, are associated with a lower risk of suffering depression," Martínez-González was quoted as saying.

This study adds even more truth to the hypothesis that a greater incidence of depression is seen in countries in Northern Europe than those of the south where a Mediterranean diet, full of olive oils and polyunsaturated fats, is consumed. Today, about 150 million people are affected by depression worldwide.

SOURCE: PLoS ONE, published online January 26, 2011