Diet is associated with the risk of depression

September 16, 2013

A healthy diet may reduce the risk of severe depression, according to a prospective follow-up study of more than 2,000 men conducted at the University of Eastern Finland. In addition, weight loss in the context of a lifestyle intervention was associated with a reduction in depressive symptoms.

"The study reinforces the hypothesis that a healthy diet has potential not only in the warding off of depression, but also in its prevention," says Ms Anu Ruusunen, MSc, who presented the results in her doctoral thesis in the field of nutritional epidemiology.

Depressed individuals often have a poor quality of diet and decreased intake of nutrients. However, it has been unclear whether the diet and the intake of foods and nutrients are associated with the risk of depression in healthy individuals.

Those following a healthy diet are less at risk

A healthy diet characterized by vegetables, fruits, berries, whole-grains, poultry, fish and low-fat cheese was associated with a lower prevalence of depressive symptoms and a lower risk of depression during the follow-up period.

Increased intake of folate was also associated with a decreased risk of depression. Vegetables, fruits, berries, whole-grains, meat and liver are the most important dietary sources of folate. In addition, increased was non-linearly associated with a decreased risk of depression.

In addition, participation in a three-year study improved depression scores with no specific group effect. Furthermore, a reduction in the body weight was associated with a greater reduction in depressive symptoms.

Junk food, sugar and processed meats may increase depressive symptoms

Adherence to an unhealthy diet characterized by a high consumption of sausages, , sugar-containing desserts and snacks, , manufactured foods, French rolls and baked or processed potatoes was associated with an increased prevalence of elevated depressive symptoms.

Contrary to some earlier observations, vitamin B12 intake, serum concentrations of n-3 PUFAs, serum ratio of n-6 to n-3 PUFAs, tea drinking and total caffeine intake were not related to the risk of depression in this study.

The study was based on the population-based Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor (KIHD) Study. The participants, over 2,000 middle-aged or older Finnish men were followed-up for an average of 13

Explore further: Lack of nutrients and metabolic syndrome linked to different subtypes of depression

More information: Ruusunen A, Voutilainen S, Karhunen L, Lehto SM, Tolmunen T, Keinänen-Kiukaanniemi S, Eriksson J, Tuomilehto J, Uusitupa M, Lindström J. How does lifestyle intervention affect the depressive symptoms? Results from the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study (DPS). Diabet Med 2012;29: e126-e132.

Ruusunen A, Virtanen J, Lehto S, Tolmunen T, Kauhanen J, Voutilainen S. Serum polyunsaturated fatty acids are not associated with the risk of severe depression in middle-aged Finnish men: Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor (KIHD) Study. Eur J Nutr. 2011;50:89-96.

Ruusunen A, Lehto S, Tolmunen T, Mursu J, Kaplan GA, Voutilainen S. Coffee consumption and the risk of severe depression in middle-aged Eastern Finnish men. Public Health Nutr. 2010;13:1215-20.

Tolmunen T, Hintikka J, Ruusunen A, Voutilainen S, Tanskanen A, Valkonen V-P, Viinamäki H, Kaplan GA, Salonen JT. Dietary folate and the risk of depression in Finnish middle-aged men. A prospective follow-up study. Psychother Psychosom. 2004;73:334-9. IF:7.2

Ruusunen, Anu. Diet and depression. Publications of the University of Eastern Finland. Dissertations in Health Sciences 2013; no 185.
ISSN: 1798-5714
ISBN: 978-952-61-1201-5
epublications.uef.fi/pub/urn_i … n_978-952-61-1201-5/

Related Stories

Lack of nutrients and metabolic syndrome linked to different subtypes of depression

November 26, 2012
A low intake of folate and vitamin B12 increases the risk of melancholic depressive symptoms, according to a study among nearly 3,000 middle-aged and elderly Finnish subjects. On the other hand, non-melancholic depressive ...

Healthy diet, moderate alcohol linked with decreased risk of kidney disease in patient with diabetes

August 12, 2013
Eating a healthy diet and drinking a moderate amount of alcohol may be associated with decreased risk or progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, according to a report published ...

New treatment hope for menopausal depression

August 19, 2013
A trial involving middle-aged Australian women is investigating the use of a hormone treatment for symptoms of menopausal depression.

Healthy diet may help prevent recurrent heart attacks, strokes

December 3, 2012
If you have cardiovascular disease, a heart-healthy diet may help protect you from recurrent heart attacks and strokes, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

Study reveals new dietary risk factors for colorectal cancer

July 15, 2013
Fizzy drinks, cakes, biscuits, crisps and desserts have all been identified as risk factors for bowel cancer, according to new research.

Nordic diet lowers cholesterol, study finds

May 29, 2013
A healthy Nordic diet lowers cholesterol levels, and therefore the risk of cardiovascular disease, a pan-Nordic study where Lund University participated has found. There was also decreased inflammation associated with pre-diabetes.

Recommended for you

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

High-dose vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles for children

July 18, 2017
Giving children high doses of vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles, a new study has found.

Scientists develop new supplement that can repair, rejuvenate muscles in older adults

July 18, 2017
Whey protein supplements aren't just for gym buffs according to new research from McMaster university. When taken on a regular basis, a combination of these and other ingredients in a ready-to-drink formula have been found ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.