I try to spend about an hour a day keeping up on the latest nutrition research and this week I came across a really interesting study that in a nutshell concludes: eating the wrong types of fats can up your risk of depression, but the right kind can lower the risk. Depression affects nearly 15 million American adults, or about 7 percent of the U.S. population. It’s the leading cause of disability in adults ages 15-44 and it has affected some people I love the most.
The study followed over 12,000 male and female volunteers over the course of six years. The volunteers had their diet, lifestyle and health status, including mental health, tracked throughout the study. The researchers found that those with a high intake of trans fats had up to a 48% increase in the risk of depression compared to participants who didn’t consume these fats. And there was a dose-response relationship, meaning the more trans fats were consumed, the greater the effect they produced. Butter consumption also increased the risk of depression, whereas olive oil intake decreased the risk.
So what’s the link? According to the researchers it may be inflammation, as this study parallels the research related to heart disease (which shows that trans and saturated fats increase the risk, whereas olive oil decreases it). We know that inflammation is a trigger for heart disease and scientists say that low grade inflammation is frequently present among people with depression, so by reducing inflammation olive oil may protect against both heart disease and depression.
So how is this related to weight control (after all this blog is called ‘weight loss coach’)? Come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you!
But I’d also love to hear from you. Have you ever noticed a connection between how you eat and how you feel psychologically? Please share your thoughts!