Fast food linked to mental illness
A diet that shuns fruit and vegetables in favour of junk food will not only make you fat, but also means you are more likely to suffer from depression, new research suggests.
Eating mainly fried food, processed meats, sweets, chocolate and fatty dairy products increases the odds of you feeling blue by almost 60 per cent, says the study by a team at University College London.
They found that those who ate the most whole foods – or a diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruit and fish – were less likely to report symptoms of depression.
Experts believe the high levels of antioxidants in fruit and veg, and of the B vitamin folate in broccoli, spinach and cabbage, may help to lower the risk of depression. And fish contains polyunsaturated fatty acids – a major part of neuron membranes in the brain.
Dr Eric Brunner, one of the researchers from University College London, said: ‘There seem to be various aspects of lifestyle such as taking exercise which also matter, but it appears that diet is playing an independent role.’
He added: ‘If your diet is high in foods that make blood sugar levels go up and down like a yo-yo, then it’s not good for your blood vessels and is bound to have an effect on the brain.’
Dr Andrew McCulloch of Mental Health Foundation said: ‘We are particularly concerned about those who cannot access fresh produce easily or live in areas where there are a high number of fast food restaurants and takeaways.’