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When people are feeling depressed, they often gravitate towards eating unhealthy foods such as processed snacks, desserts and even sugary drinks to make them feel better.
However, research has found that a diet high in junk food, sugar and processed meats may actually increase symptoms of depression.
Most people are aware that a diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, chicken and fish has a plethora of health benefits such as reducing the risk of developing high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. However, according to a prospective study of more than 2,000 men conducted at the University of Eastern Finland, a healthy diet also plays a role in reducing symptoms of depression.
Healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, poultry, fish and low-fat cheese were associated with a lower prevalence of depression symptoms, according to the study. Increased intake of the nutrient folate and coffee consumption also was associated with a decreased risk of depression.
On the flip side, high consumption of sausages, processed meats, sugar-containing desserts and snacks, sugary drinks, manufactured foods and baked or processed potatoes were shown to increase symptoms of depression.
The study was based on the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor (KIHD) study that conducted ongoing follow-up of more than 2,000 middle-aged or older Finnish men for approximately 13 years. Food records and food frequency questionnaires measured the diet of the men who participated in the KIHD study. Information about the cases of depression was obtained from the National Hospital Discharge Register.
Source: University of Eastern Finland
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