Providing more evidence to the motif ‘you are what you eat’, scientists have found that eating a fast food diet increases the risk for depression by more than fifty percent. The food we eat today will provide the structural network for the cellular matrix that we need to support basic metabolism, cellular regeneration and repair. This is especially pronounced in brain neurons, as grey matter is largely composed of the omega-3 fats, DHA and EPA. When we don’t provide these basic building blocks, especially in the early formative years, the body is forced to use inferior fats such as those provided by hydrogenation, most frequently found in fast and processed foods.
Consumption of Fast Foods and Baked Goods Doubles Risk of Depression
Scientists from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the University of Granada, publishing in the Public Health Nutrition journal have determined that eating commercially baked goods (cakes, croissants and doughnuts) and fast food (hamburgers, hotdogs and pizza) is linked to a 51 percent increase in the incidence of depression, compared to those who eat little or none of these foods.
Researchers conducting the study found that risk of depression could be predicted in a dose-dependent manner. Lead study author, Dr. Almudena Sánchez-Villegas commented “the more fast food you consume, the greater the risk of depression.” The study found that those participants eating the largest amount of fast food and commercially baked goods are more likely to be single, physically inactive and generally exhibit poor dietary habits. Typically these individuals consumed less fruit, nuts, fish, vegetables and olive oil, and were more likely to smoke or work more than 45 hours per week.
Strict Elimination of Convenience and Fast Foods Dramatically Lowers Rate of Depression
High consumption of commercially baked goods or fried foods subjected to the oil degradation process known as hydrogenation results in trans-fats that have been shown to dramatically increase heart disease risk in past studies. This current research demonstrates that these misshapen and synthetically processed trans-fats interfere with the proper function of chemical neurotransmitters in the brain and alter normal electrical activity necessary for intercellular signaling.
Depression among children and adults is expanding at an alarming rate, with 121 million people diagnosed worldwide. Antidepressants prescribed to manage depression are largely ineffective and only work to mask the underlying cause of the illness. A wealth of scientific evidence now points to proper nutrition as an effective tool to halt and even reverse depressive episodes. The study team advised against a diet including baked or fried foods, and emphasized the need for whole, natural foods containing plenty of B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and fresh pressed virgin olive oil to significantly lower risk of depression.