We have grown used to the ‘you are what you eat’ notion and it is both obvious logically and well-known scientifically that health is affected by the foods we eat. Indeed, there is little escaping the fact and I say this, having a natural affinity for chocolate and other sweet stuffs (in moderation of course!).
Apparently though it isn’t just waistlines that are affected..
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The report is published in full in the British Journal of Psychiatry and the study involved 3500 civil servants and any links between their diets and the development of depression – with other factors taken into account.
There was a significant difference in the risk of the development of depression depending on the diet. As the article says
Those who ate the most whole foods had a 26% lower risk of future depression than those who at the least whole foods.
By contrast people with a diet high in processed food had a 58% higher risk of depression than those who ate very few processed foods.
There are a number of thoughts I had about this. Firstly, and one picked up in the article (so I’m not claiming an original thought!) is that often processed foods are cheaper and there may be a link with poverty levels and difficult circumstances and depressive illnesses. Of course, the base group taken for the research were employed civil servants so that wouldn’t necessarily be the case for this study but if the conclusions are extrapolated to the general population – we can assume that levels of poverty may increase the risk factors.
Also it is oft-proved that physical and mental health are closely related – a poor diet may bring about poorer physical health which may be a cause of more depression.
It’s an interesting study and one that further encourages me to reach for an apple rather than the coco pops in the great Breakfast decision of this morning.