Do you wash down your pasta topped with sausage with a can of Coke? That menu just might be a recipe for depression, according to a new study linking refined grains such as pasta, fatty meat like sausage and sodas with depression, reported ABC News on October 30.
Researchers discovered that women who drank soft drinks, ate refined grains such as pasta and crackers and indulged in fatty red meat were 29 to 41 percent more likely to be diagnosed or treated for depression.
When they conducted blood tests, the scientists discovered that those women tested significantly higher for three different biomarkers of inflammation. They therefore are theorizing that a link exists between inflammation and depression.
However, noted Michael Lucas, PhD, the co-author of the study, the precise physiological contributors to depression have yet to be determined, reported UPI on October 29.
Harvard School of Public Health researcher Dr. Lucas emphasized that it's not clear how the inflammation is linked to mental health. What is clear: Other studies including this one have linked inflammation to depression. And with that goes the diet that results in inflammation.
Dr. Lucas said that certain types of food appear to reduce inflammation, such as those in a typical Mediterranean diet. And that type of diet does more than potentially reduce your chances of depression: It also benefits your heart, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Researchers analyzed more than 1.5 million healthy adults to prove that following a Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of cancer, heart disease, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. That diet includes:
- Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
- Replacing butter with healthy fats, such as olive oil
- Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
- Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
- Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
- Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
Various types of anti-inflammatory diets are available.
"While each plan has its own twist, all are based on the general concept that constant or out-of-control inflammation in the body leads to ill health, and that eating to avoid constant inflammation promotes better health and can ward off disease, " Russell Greenfield, MD, a clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told WebMD.
"It's very clear that inflammation plays a role much more than we thought with respect to certain maladies," Greenfield tells WebMD.
Offering a different take on anti-inflammatory diets: Barry Sears, author of "Enter The Zone: A Dietary Road map" and "The Anti-Inflammation Zone: Reversing the Silent Epidemic That's Destroying Our Health" (click for details).
He feels that anti-inflammatory diets are ideal for overall good health, telling WebMD that inflammation is "a silent epidemic that triggers chronic diseases over the years."
You might feel fine, "but have high levels of inflammation," he warns. And when the balance of omega-6 fatty acids, found in processed and fast foods, and far too few rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in cold-water fish or supplements, is out of whack, inflammation can set in, Sears explains.