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Posted on Mon, 28 Oct 13

Inflammatory diet linked to depression

The food you eat may be changing your mood by increasing inflammation in your brain. A remarkable study of over 40,000 women suggests a pro-inflammatory diet is linked to the development of depression.

Diet has been linked to depression but exactly how it could change your mood is uncertain and likely complex. One possibility is that a diet rich in foods that increase inflammation (such as sugar and red meat), and low in foods that reduce it (like vegetables and olive oil) could change your brain. Indeed diet can increase inflammation, and inflammation can adversely change your brain chemistry and function.

To see if there is a link the baseline diets, mood and levels of inflammatory markers were examined in 43,685 women (aged 50-77) without depression who where then followed up some 12 years later.

A dietary pattern relatively high in sugar- sweetened soft drinks, refined grains, red meat, diet soft drinks, margarine, other vegetables, and fish but low in wine, coffee, olive oil, green leafy and yellow vegetables was most strongly associated with inflammation. And this inflammatory dietary pattern was associated with a higher depression risk with a higher risk of depression the more inflammatory the diet.

“These results suggest that chronic inflammation may underlie the relationship between diet and depression” concluded the study investigators.


1. Lucas M, Chocano-Bedoya P, Shulze MB, et al. Inflammatory dietary pattern and risk of depression among women. Brain Behav Immun. 2013 Oct 1. doi:pii: S0889-1591(13)00469-8.

Tags: Depression, Diet, Inflammation

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