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Western diet, unhealthful dietary patterns contribute to poor mental health

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Several studies have shown that people, who follow a Western diet comprising highly processed foods and added sugars, have higher risks of developing anxiety and depression.

According to a study in 2010, women who ate unhealthful Western-style diets had more psychological symptoms.

The foods the participants were eating included: processed foods, fried foods, refined grains, such as white bread, sugary products, and beer

Similar, study also found that unhealthful dietary patterns that typically lead to obesity, diabetes, and other physical health problems could contribute to poor mental health.

Meanwhile, researchers have increasingly been studying the effects of diet and nutrition on mental health.

Many of them have noticed that people who follow a standard Western diet, which includes highly processed foods, are more likely to have major depression or persistent mild depression.

Most studies have focused on the effects of the standard Western diet and the Mediterranean diet. An article in the Proceedings of the Nutrition Society reviewed the existing body of research on diet, nutrition, and mental health.

The research suggests that the more closely a person follows a Western diet, with its highly processed foods, the more at risk they are for depression and anxiety.

However, researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry at the King’s College in London in the United Kingdom investigated exactly how nutrition might affect mental health, as they focused their research on the effects of diet on the hippocampus.

The hippocampus is an area of the brain that generates new neurons in a process called neurogenesis.

Research has linked neurogenesis in the hippocampus to a person’s mood and cognition, as stressful experiences reduce neurogenesis in the hippocampus, while antidepressant drugs appear to promote this process.

These factors that can negatively affect neurogenesis in adults include aging, oxidative stress, high-fat diets, high sugar diets, alcohol, opioids.
However, researchers have stated that healthful foods and habits appear to promote neurogenesis.

These foods, according to them include: diets that include polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), curcumin, and polyphenols; a diet that meets calorie needs without a person overeating or undereating; physical exercise and learning

Culled from medicalnewstoday.com


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