A study by a team of researchers at Daedong Hospital in Busan and Seoul National University College of Medicine has revealed that vegetables are best for beating the blues, as a meat-heavy diet means more susceptibility to depression.
Researchers classified the diets of 9,717 adults into three categories: Western (meat, fried foods, carbonated drinks, instant noodles and ice cream), Korean (vegetables, seafood and fish) and vegetarian (fruits, vegetables and grains). They then analyzed the relationship between diet and depression.
If the frequency of depression among all of the participants is set at 1, people with Western diets showed a frequency of 1.148. In contrast, vegetarians had a frequency of 0.9, which suggests that eating vegetables can reduce the chances of depression.
Researchers say vegetables contain lots of vitamins and beta-carotene which lower stress and fight infections, thereby reducing depression. But meat consumption lowers levels of antioxidants and folic acid, causing stress levels to rise and making people edgier.
“Depression is not solely caused by nutrients, but is affected by a wide variety of factors,” a researcher said. “But we believe that a vegetarian diet could improve symptoms.”
The findings were published in the Journal of the Korean Academy of Family Medicine.