This known cause of heart disease also causes depression

February 22, 2011
Volume 08    |   Issue 09

If you’re depressed, you’re not alone. Over 150 million people worldwide suffer from depression. And millions more get depressed at various times in their lives without knowing why. The reason — and solution — may be in their diets.

It’s no surprise to hear that the foods we eat affect our moods. In fact, it’s well known that sugar and refined grains are known to cause fluctuations in blood sugar that can result in anxiety and depression. But you may not know that eating certain fats contributes to depression as well. It turns out that fats in your foods can either contribute to depression or have a protective effect. It all depends on the type you eat.

In a recent study, researchers followed more than 12,000 people for six years. None of them were depressed at the start of the study. The researchers evaluated each participant’s diet, lifestyle, and health before, during, and after the study. At the end of the study, there was a 48% increase in depression in people who ate trans-fats and saturated fats.

That’s not all.

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These results were dose-dependent. The more trans-fats and saturated fats they ate, the greater the harmful effects.

Conversely, the people who ate more fish, vegetable oils, and olive oil had less depression.

These findings apply not only to depression, but to heart disease as well. So if you stop eating French fries, store bought cakes and cookies, and other foods high in unhealthy fats, you reap double benefits. You’ll have less depression today and a lower risk for heart disease tomorrow.

When it comes to diet and depression, fats are not the only nutritional culprits. For an in-depth explanation of how the foods you eat affect how you feel, pick up a copy of The Mood Cure by Julia Ross, MA (Penguin Books, 2004). Begin today by throwing out all foods with unhealthy fats. You can find plenty of alternatives in health food stores and many supermarkets. If you find that you can’t overcome the cravings for processed foods, you might want to try Craving Quencher from Advanced Bionutritionals.

Your voice of reason in Women's Health,


Sanchez-Villegas A, Verberne L, De Irala J, Ru2´z-Canela M, Toledo E, et al. (2011) Dietary Fat Intake and the Risk of Depression: The SUN Project. PLoS ONE 6(1): e16268. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016268.

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