A recent study published online at the website, Plos One, looked at the connection between dietary intake of fat and risk of depression. What the researchers from Spain found is that an increased intake of trans fat which have long be known to increase cardiovascular risk may also increase your risk of depression. In short, it turns out what’s good for your heart in terms of dietary intake of fat, is also probably good for your brain.
The study itself included over 12,000 participants of both gender who were followed for a mean duration of 6.1 years. None of the participants had a diagnosis of depression at the onset of the study. The participants completed a food frequency questionnaire detailing their intake of various types of fats. After six years, there were 657 new cases of depression that had been diagnosed.
What the researchers found is that those who had a high intake of trans fat which is typically found in fast food, pastries, and whole milk had a higher risk of depression. In fact, those in the highest intake group who consumed 1.5 grams daily had a 48% higher risk of depression.
In contrast, the study also found that a higher intake of olive oil was associated with a lower risk of depression. Those who consumed the most olive oil had a lower risk of depression compared to those who consumed little to no olive oil.
The researchers speculate that the connection between bad fats with cardiovascular disease and depression maybe through common biological changes including increases in inflammation along with shifts towards higher LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol. Olive oil is noted by the study authors to contain high amounts of polyphenols with important anti-oxidant properties.
Following the Mediterranean diet which includes not only olive oil, but is also high in fruits and vegetables along with low to moderate alcohol intake could help according to the study authors.