Diet Linked To Depression In Women

A new study says that women's diets could be a cause for their depressive symptoms.

Red wine image via shutter stock

Red wine image via shutterstock

Put down the steak knife and pour yourself a glass of wine, ladies. As odd as it sounds, a new study suggests that too much red meat and not enough coffee and wine, among other dietary elements, could be the cause of depression in women. Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health recently released a study in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, that examined the effects on certain foods that cause inflammation, namely red meat, sugar-sweetened or diet soft drinks, margarine, and refined grains in relation to symptoms of depression.

The study concluded that these foods can cause internal inflammation and women whose diets included more of the above inflammatory food and less of the food that reduce inflammation—like coffee, wine, olive oil, and green leafy vegetables—are 41 percent more likely to be diagnosed with depression.

Over the course of 12 years, researchers studied almost 50,000 women, ages 50 to 77, who were not diagnosed with depression or exhibited severe depressive symptoms. The study tracked the participant’s dietary patterns, depressive symptoms, and several biomarkers that link to inflammation. At the conclusion of the study, 2,594 women were diagnosed with depression using a strict definition of the disease—diagnosed depression and antidepressant use—and 6,446 women were diagnosed with depression by a more broad definition—diagnosed depression and/or antidepressant use.

The women who regularly ate red meat, drank sodas, and only occasionally drank wine and coffee were 29 to 41 percent more likely to be diagnosed with depression.

Dr. Alberto Ascherio, senior author of the study and a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health said in a report:

“These results converge with parallel findings on the relation between diet and physical health. From a public health perspective, it is reassuring that what is good for the body is also good for the mind.”

From the slew of studies in depression conducted in Boston this year, it may seem that a combination of coffee, wine, vegetables, and yoga in addition to traditional treatments may be the key to unlocking a successful treatment for depression.