Food can be poison and medicine – this maxim applies in full force to a favorite vegetable that can cause depression. It is not surprising that nutritionists and gastroenterologists often recommend eating a varied diet, not getting carried away with certain foods. Iranian scientists from Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, however, concluded that certain types of “unhealthy plant foods” seriously increase the risk of developing depression. Potatoes have the worst effect on the human psyche. An article about this was published in the journal PLOS One. The aim of the scientists was to understand how food affects the emotional state and psyche of a person. The team developed a system of indices that describe different patterns of plant-based nutrition: general, healthy and unhealthy.
Potatoes unlock depression
The experiment included more than two thousand healthy people over the age of 18. For a year and a half, they filled in food diaries, after which these data were analyzed by scientists, taking into account gender, age, unhealthy habits, social status of a person and his material well-being.
The researchers then calculated the average intake of each plant product, the energy and nutrients a person gets after including it in their diet. Study participants were tested on the Iranian version of the Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), which measures symptoms of mental disorders.
As a result, signs of depression and anxiety have been found in those who often eat potatoes, refined cereals and their desserts (bars, halva, etc.), drink fruit juices and fruit drinks with a high sugar content. Experts emphasize that this type of diet is characteristic of the young group of respondents. Opposite results were found in people who regularly ate whole grains, nuts, legumes, included vegetable oils, various fruits and vegetables. They have proven to be psychologically more stable. In this group, mostly elderly people participated – apparently they approach their diet more carefully.
The article notes that these results are related to the high glycemic index of potatoes and refined grains. At the same time, the content of nutrients in them sometimes tends to zero. This combination does not affect the gut microbiota very well and causes various inflammations that can also harm mental health.
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