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Imbalanced diets cause depression

If you opt for unhealthy food it is bad news for your mental health, says a new report. After Eight

It’s as official as it gets. The changes in diets and farming methods over the last five decades seem to have played a major role in the significant rise in mental health problems, according to a report by the Mental Health Foundation and Sustain in January 2006.

Researchers have been quoted in the report saying that less nutritious and imbalanced diets have led to growing rates of depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and Alzheimer’s. Industrialised farming has introduced pesticides and altered the body fat composition of animals farmed for meat. This and other factors have led to large reductions in key nutrients such as essential fats, vitamins and minerals being consumed by large parts of the population, says the report.

The considerable drop in intake by most people of omega-3 fatty acids and an increase in the eating of foods containing omega-6 fatty acids is vital. According to the research by the Mental Health Foundation and Sustain, this has resulted in increases in depression, as well as concentration problems.

The study reveals, for example, that 29 % of 15- to 24-year-olds reported eating a meal made from scratch every day, compared to 50% of those aged over 65.

Evidence linking the impact of diet on mood and behaviour has been growing. “Complex carbohydates as well as certain food components such as folic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium decrease depression symptoms. Some studies have found correlation between low fish intake in populations and high levels of depression. There is also evidence that a factor behind the growth of Alzheimer’s is the increase in diets high in saturated fat and low in vitamins and minerals,” says Jitender Nagpal, a psychiatrist at VIMHANS, Delhi.

According to the report there has been a 34 % decline in vegetable consumption and a 59% drop in the amount of fish eaten in the last 60 years. Only 13% of men and 15% of women now eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. A diet containing adequate amounts of complex carbohydrates, essential fats, amino acids, vitamins and minerals and water has promoted balanced moods and feelings of well-being.

“This report reiterates the fact that it is important to maintain a balanced diet for a healthy mind. A lack of amino acids, from which neuro-transmitters in the brain are made, can lead to depression and apathy,” says dietician Dr Anjali Mukherjee.

SOURCE:-Somashukla Sinha Walunjkar
Financial Express

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