New research has found that eating a diet low in nutrients and high in junk food can increase the likelihood of depression by almost 60 percent, the UK's Daily Mail reported.
The University College London researchers analysed the diets of 3486 civil servants, both male and female, around 55 years of age. Five years later, their level of depression was also monitored via self-assessment.
Published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, the study concluded that respondents who ate a diet of heavily processed foods, sweets and fatty foods were 58 percent more likely to have depression five years later than those who ate a minimally processed diet high in nutrients.
The researchers believe this study is the first to directly link overall diet, not just individual foods, to mental health though they acknowledge that other factors, such as exercise, are also contributors.
"This study adds to an existing body of solid research that shows the strong links between what we eat and our mental health," chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation UK, Dr Andrew McCulloch, said in a media release.
"The mind and body are often separated but the brain, just like the heart or liver, is an organ that needs nutrients to stay healthy and functional."
Depression has been linked to the lack of vitamins in the diet such as vitamins B3, B6 and C, omega-3 fatty acids and folic acid, which is another good reason to load your plate with fresh fruit and vegetables, oily fish and whole grains.
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