When everything else in our world is terrible, there can always be at least one wonderful part of our lives.
I’m not talking family, work, or faith - though each may have an important role in buttressing our well-being.
No, I’m talking about fruits and vegetables.
Perhaps I’m overstating the case a bit.
However, a recent study from researchers at Rush University Medical Center revealed that eating a diet that emphasizes vegetables, fruit and whole grains it may lead to a reduced risk of depression.
Study author Dr. Laurel Cherian, according to a news release from Rush University, found study participants who closely adhered to a diet similar to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet were less likely to develop depression than people who did not closely follow the diet. The DASH diet recommends fruits and vegetables and fat-free or low-fat dairy products and limits foods that are high in saturated fats and sugar, according to the release.
“Depression is common in older adults and more frequent in people with memory problems, vascular risk factors such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, or people who have had a stroke,” Cherian, a vascular neurologist and assistant professor in Rush’s Department of Neurological Sciences, said in the release. “There is evidence linking healthy lifestyle changes to lower rates of depression and this study sought to examine the role that diet plays in preventing depression.”
From the release:
The National Institutes of Aging-funded study evaluated a total of 964 participants of the Rush Memory and Aging Project with an average age of 81 annually for approximately six-and-a-half years. Each participant was monitored for symptoms of depression and filled out questionnaires about how often they ate various foods. The researchers examined how closely the participants’ reported diets adhered diets such as the DASH diet, Mediterranean diet and the traditional Western diet, which is high in saturated fats and red meats and low in fruits and vegetables.
The researchers categorized participants in three groups based on how closely they adhered to these diets. Those who were in the two groups that followed the DASH diet more closely were 11 percent less likely to develop depression than people in the group that did not follow the diet closely. Conversely, the researchers found that the more closely people followed a Western diet, the more likely they were to develop depression.
Cherian noted that the study does not prove that the DASH diet leads to a reduced risk of depression; it only shows an association.
“Future studies are now needed to confirm these results and to determine the best nutritional components of the DASH diet to prevent depression later in life and to best help people keep their brains healthy,” said Cherian.
TK: If fruits and vegetable, in general, lessen depression, the next thought is which fruits and vegetables are especially effective at raising spirits? Can you imagine the “halo” effect of being able to claim mood-lifting qualities for individual commodities? Yes, more research, please.