Depression risk and rates are lowered on a plant based wholefood diet

Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables protects mental health; while eating junk food invites depression

“The study reinforces that a healthy diet has potential not only in the warding off of depression, but also in its prevention”
Ms Anu Ruusunen, MSc, in her doctoral thesis in the field of nutritional epidemiology, May 2014.

The population-based Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor (KIHD) Study, out of the University of Eastern Finland, examined the eating habits of more than 2,000 middle-aged or older men for up to two decades.

Foods that made the list of “protecting against depression” included fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and fish. 

Interestingly a protective link was shown in foods high in folate – such as leafy green vegetables, which actually get their name – ‘foliage’, from ‘folate’.

Junk foods such as processed meats (hamburgers, sausage rolls, hot dogs, pizza etc), and manufactured foods, were shown to be more likely linked to depression.

Study by Ruusunen A, Voutilainen S, Karhunen L, Lehto SM, Tolmunen T, Keinänen-Kiukaanniemi S, Eriksson J, Tuomilehto J, Uusitupa M, Lindström J. “How does lifestyle intervention affect the depressive symptoms?” Results from the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study (DPS), as published in Diabetic Medicine 2012;29: e126-e132; Also study by Ruusunen A, Virtanen J, Lehto S, Tolmunen T, Kauhanen J, Voutilainen S. “Serum polyunsaturated  fatty acids are not associated with the risk of severe depression in middle-aged Finnish men”: Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor (KIHD) Study, as published in the European Journal of Nutrition. 2011;50:89-96; Also Tolmunen T, Hintikka J, Ruusunen A, Voutilainen S, Tanskanen A, Valkonen V-P, Viinamäki H, Kaplan GA, Salonen JT. “Dietary folate and the risk of depression in Finnish middle-aged men. A prospective follow-up study”, as published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 2004;73:334-9. IF:7.2; Also study by Ruusunen, Anu. “Diet and depression. Publications of the University of Eastern Finland” as published in Dissertations in Health Sciences 2013; no 185.  As reported by on September 19, 2013.


Posted: Sunday 25 May 2014