“It should be stressed, however, that our findings are an association, rather than causality. Further work is needed to confirm the efficacy of modulating dietary patterns in treating depression with relation to inflammation.”
Inflammation occurs when the body releases proteins, antibodies and increased blood-flow to areas affected by infections, injuries, and toxins in an effort to defend and protect itself.
However, chronic inflammation has been found to have a negative effect on health and linked with diseases such as cancer, asthma and heart disease.
An anti-inflammatory diet contains plenty of fiber, vitamins – especially A, C, D — and unsaturated fats. The popular Mediterranean diet, which includes olive oil, tomatoes, green vegetables and fatty fish, is a good example, with the researchers suggesting that this diet could be followed to potentially lower the risk of depression.
A US study published earlier this year also found that the DASH diet, which is similar to the Mediterranean diet, and is high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and encourages nuts and beans, lean meats, fish and poultry rather than saturated fats and sugar, may also reduce the risk of depression. Those who adhered to the diet most showed an 11% lower risk than those who adhered the least.
In contrast, those who followed a Western diet most closely, which is high in saturated fats and red meats and low in fruits and vegetables, were more likely to develop depression.