(NaturalNews) Our diet can have a significant impact on our well being and is shown to influence our mental health and risk of depression. Reporting the results of the SUN Project in the journal PLoS ONE, researchers have linked consumption of synthetic trans fats and saturated fats to an increased risk of suffering from the debilitating effects of depression. The same research provides evidence that naturally fresh pressed extra virgin olive oil is protective against this form of mental illness.
Clinical depression is rising at an alarming rate along a similar path with many other chronic illnesses caused by poor diet and lifestyle. Statistics show that 150 million people are depressed worldwide. Medical practitioners are quick to prescribe any of a growing number of designer anti-depressant drugs that have been shown to contribute to long-term mental illness as they erode patient health.
The SUN Project followed the dietary and lifestyle habits of more than 12,000 volunteers over the course of six years. None of the participants exhibited signs of depression prior to the beginning of the study and 657 cases were diagnosed by the end.
Researchers found that those individuals with the highest consumption of trans and saturated fats from fast foods and industrially-produced baked goods had a 48% increased risk of developing depression compared with those that did not consume these fats. The study found a dose-response relationship, meaning the more trans and saturated fats consumed, the greater the harmful effect they produced in the subject volunteers.
The team conducting the study found that polyunsaturated fats from fish and fish oil as well as monounsaturated fats including extra virgin olive oil influenced the occurrence of depression. The director of the SUN Project, Miguel Angel Martinez-Gonzalez commented "we discovered that these types of healthier fats, together with olive oil, are associated with a lower risk of suffering depression."
The study concludes that the incidence of depression is escalating at a much greater rate in the western developed countries of Northern Europe and America due to a diet highly concentrated in processed foods known to be laden with trans and saturated fats. Southern European countries that traditionally follow a Mediterranean-style diet including plenty of fish and olive oil have a much lower occurrence of depression.
Brain health is dependent on a continual supply of unrefined fats Omega-3 and monounsaturated fats for neural development, communications and signaling. In the absence of these essential fats, inferior sources are employed that lead to premature aging and mental illness. The British Journal of Psychiatry found that EPA, an Omega-3 long-chain fatty acid, is an effective intervention in bipolar depression.
Our brain is in a continual state of re-growth and repair. When this process is disturbed by the introduction of synthesized or improperly formed lipid structures (from overheated or fried oils during cooking), neural pathways are damaged and cannot function normally. One of the many consequences is the manifestation of mental disorders including clinical depression. Feed your brain every day with fats in their natural, unrefined form to protect this most critical organ from defect and disease.
John Phillip is a Health Researcher and Author who writes regularly on the cutting edge use of diet, lifestyle modifications and targeted supplementation to enhance and improve the quality and length of life. John is the author of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan', a comprehensive EBook explaining how to use Diet, Exercise, Mind and Targeted Supplementation to achieve your weight loss goal. Visit My Optimal Health Resource to continue reading the latest health news updates, and to download your Free 48 page copy of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan'.