top of page

This powerhouse food can lower your risk of depression by almost 20%

[Oct. 10, 2023: Staff Writer, The Brighter Side of News]


In the crowded aisles of our local grocery stores, amidst a plethora of health foods, lies an unassuming dietary powerhouse - nuts. (CREDIT: Creative Commons)


In the crowded aisles of our local grocery stores, amidst a plethora of health foods, lies an unassuming dietary powerhouse – nuts.


A novel study has revealed that adults who indulge in this crunchy treat daily might have a reduced chance of getting diagnosed with depression or taking antidepressants.


 
 

According to data harvested from the UK Biobank – an exhaustive online archive of medical and lifestyle records encompassing about 500,000 Britons – a significant and positive correlation was discerned among middle-aged and older adults. These individuals regularly incorporated walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, and pistachios into their diets.


This groundbreaking research, published in the prestigious journal Clinical Nutrition, doesn't pinpoint the exact reason behind this observation. However, the scientists postulate that the potential protective effect might stem from the potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties inherent to nuts.


 

Related Stories

 

Delving deeper into the nutritious profile of nuts, the research team from the University of Castilla-La Mancha in Spain, spearheaded by Bruno Bizzozero-Peroni, highlighted their dense nutrient content.


Nuts are laden with beneficial bioactive compounds like phenols and phytosterols, essential micronutrients, a rich fiber content, high-quality proteins, health-beneficial monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and a plethora of vitamins. Each of these constituents may play a pivotal role in augmenting mental health.


 
 

Bruno Bizzozero-Peroni, emphasizing the import of their findings, said, “Our discoveries underscore yet another virtue of consuming nuts. There's an associated 17% decline in depression linked to nut consumption. This presents an even more compelling argument for people to integrate nuts into their daily diets.”


Diagram flow of the study participants in the current study, from the original UK-B cohort. (CREDIT: Clinical Nutrition)


To distill this insight, researchers pored over data spanning from 2007 to 2020, encompassing more than 13,000 individuals aged between 37 to 73. Notably, none of these participants had reported symptoms of depression at the study's commencement. Using meticulously crafted questionnaires, the team gauged the participants' nut consumption patterns. Concurrently, they also monitored self-reported diagnoses of depression by doctors and any antidepressant usage.


 
 

After an intensive follow-up period exceeding five years, the results were startling. Of the cohort, more than 1,100 individuals, equating to 8.3%, had cases of depression documented. A deeper stratification of the data illuminated that participants with low to moderate nut consumption (quantified as a 30-gram serving per day) exhibited a 17% diminished risk of developing depression in contrast to their counterparts who abstained from nuts.


Risk of depression for nut consumption vs. nonconsumption, stratified by the covariates of the fully adjusted hazard regression model. (CREDIT: Clinical Nutrition)


Significantly, this observation stood firm, even when other potential confounders that might impinge on mental health were considered, encompassing lifestyle choices, existing medical conditions, and even body mass index (BMI).


 
 

The study emphatically elucidated, “Our outcomes accentuate the prospective role of nut consumption as a salubrious dietary behavior to stave off depression. This is especially pertinent for individuals devoid of other acknowledged risk triggers for depression, such as obesity, deleterious lifestyle tendencies, loneliness, and pre-existing medical ailments.”


Nuts are laden with beneficial bioactive compounds like phenols and phytosterols, essential micronutrients, a rich fiber content, high-quality proteins, health-beneficial monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and a plethora of vitamins. (CREDIT: Creative Commons)


Dr. Jenna Macciochi, a senior lecturer specializing in immunology at the esteemed University of Sussex (and notably, not a part of the core research team), weighed in on the study's implications. She said, “This study augments the burgeoning literature in nutritional psychology, consistently spotlighting diet as an integral facet influencing mood disorders.” She expounded on the study's findings, emphasizing the positive bond between nut intake and a dwindling risk of depression. However, she also pointed out the importance of unearthing the underlying mechanisms to make more precise dietary recommendations.


 
 

In the interim, she advocates a Mediterranean-style anti-inflammatory diet, which inherently includes nuts, as the most evidence-backed dietary strategy to bolster mental health.


In a world grappling with escalating rates of depression, such pioneering research shines a beacon of hope. Perhaps, it’s time to go nuts about nuts, not just for their tantalizing taste but for the promise they hold in fostering mental wellness.






For more science news stories check out our New Discoveries section at The Brighter Side of News.


 

Note: Materials provided above by The Brighter Side of News. Content may be edited for style and length.


 
 

Like these kind of feel good stories? Get the Brighter Side of News' newsletter.


 


Comments


Most Recent Stories

bottom of page