A Harvard study that followed 43,000 women over 12 years has found that some of your favorite foods may not just be hurting your physical health, but your mental health, too. The research team looked at the women's diets and discovered those who consumed more red meat, soda, and refined grains, like pasta, white bread, and chips, were 29% to 41% more likely to be diagnosed with depression than those who consumed more wine, coffee, and leafy greens, Medical Daily reports. The women, aged 50 to 77, had no prior history with depression before the study, notes CBS New York.
Exactly how the carb-rich foods are linked to depression isn't known: ABC News points out that those suffering from depression may head to comfort foods, like pasta, which could account for the higher rates. But it may also be that carb-rich diets lead to more inflammation, something that has already been pegged as a possible link to depression, Prevention reports, noting that women who ate more carb-rich foods also tested higher for three biomarkers of inflammation. How to keep your risk down? The study author suggests a Mediterranean-style diet, heavy in olive oil, fish, and veggies, like carrots and sweet potatoes. (Read more depression stories.)