A diet of fast food, cakes and processed meat may significantly increase risk of depression.
The study by a University in UK found that eating foods which are known to promote inflammation such as those high in cholesterol, saturated fats and carbohydrates puts people at 40 per cent higher risk of depression.
The team analysed data from 11 existing studies that focused on the link between depression and pro-inflammatory diets encompassing more than 100,000 participants, between 16 to 72 years old, of varied gender and ethnicity, spanning the USA, Australia, Europe and the Middle East.
Researchers said that an anti-inflammatory diet containing more fibre, vitamins (especially A, C, D) and unsaturated fats has the opposite effect, and could be implemented as a treatment for depression. Therefore, a Mediterranean diet of olive oil, tomatoes, green vegetables and fatty fish could help lower depressive symptoms.
Inflammation is the body’s natural defence system against infections, injuries and toxins. In order to protect itself from harm, the body releases proteins, antibodies and increased blood-flow to affected areas, causing redness and swelling.
However, chronic inflammation puts the body in a constant state of and has previously been linked to diseases such as cancer, asthma and heart disease. Such persistent inflammation, particularly in the brain, is believed to contribute to neuronal death.