Pamela Bond's Blog

New study links processed foods and depression

Comfort foods may not be all that comforting, it turns out. Although researchers have looked at the link between certain nutrients and depression, not many have studied the connection between overall diet and depression. Until now. A new study in the The British Journal of Psychiatry found that people who eat more whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables and fish, are less likely to be depressed later on. But those who eat a lot of processed meat, chocolate, sweetened desserts, fried foods, refined cereals and high fat dairy products have a higher risk for depression. Why? The researchers suggest several mood-boosting possibilities: the high folate content in certain cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens and legumes; the high omega-3 fatty acid content in fish; the high antioxidant content in fruits; or all of the above (i.e., the foods and nutrients work in combination). What’s clear: Sales of many natural ingredients for an enhanced psyche have risen over the past year even as consumers pinched pennies during the worst recession in 60 years—or perhaps because of it. Some popular ones, like fish oil, 5-HTP, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and S-Adenosyl methionine (SAM-e) got a boost upwards of 15 percent in the conventional channel, according to SPINS, a Schaumburg, Ill.-based market research company. In our January 2010 issue, NFM will look at even more hopeful nutrients. What have been some of your top sellers in this category?

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