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Research using data from large observational studies — like the Nurses' Health Study and the Women's Health Initiative, which included middle-aged to older and mostly postmenopausal women — has found links.

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This includes a study in the International Journal of Obesity , which found associations between obesity and depression and dietary factors. Also, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who ate more vitamin D—rich foods had a lower risk of depression than women who got less vitamin D in their diets. But conclusively linking your diet with your risk of depression is another story.

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It's not yet possible to identify a single nutritional factor that increases or decreases the risk of depression, says Chocano-Bedoya, a senior epidemiologist at the University of Zurich. A study in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity that used data from the Nurses' Health study did find an association between depression and a diet rich in sugar-sweetened soft drinks, refined grains, and red meat, says Chocano-Bedoya.

Similarly, a meta-analysis published in the European Journal of Nutrition suggested that high consumption of meat could be associated with risk of developing depression. However, at this point, there are so many different factors associated with depression it's not possible to tease out exactly how much a specific food or dietary pattern affects risk, she says.

Measuring Animal Preferences and Choice Behavior

Depression, like many other chronic conditions, likely results from a complex interaction between genetics and environment. That said, there's still good reason to focus on your diet in the hopes of protecting your mental health. A Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, olive oil, whole grains, and lean protein such as chicken and fish, and low in red meat and unhealthy fats.

Even if future research determines that a Mediterranean diet doesn't have an effect on depression risk, there are still numerous other reasons to adopt this eating plan. As Barbara writes, a healthy body creates a healthy mind. It seems to be one of her themes that we are not just damaging our individual bodies and minds with our food choices, but damaging our entire society by allowing foods we know are dangerous to be marketed as safe and appropriate for children.

My child understands the idea of "sometimes food", food items that we eat occasionally or as special treats but that we do not consider nutritious choices that help us "grow strong and healthy".

Measuring Animal Preferences and Choice Behavior

Will we be able to convince others that that treats and unhealthy foods are not deserved or a wise way to treat stress? When considering the possibility of your child ending up involved in the criminal justice system, I hope parents would be willing to commit to potentially difficult dietary changes for the entire family.

I would assume that the entire family will start feeling healthier physically, mentally, and emotionally as a result. Be the first to comment on this item.

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