A new study by Harvard researchers has found that women who regularly eat refined grains like pasta are at greater risk of developing depression. The study, published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, tracked 43,000 women over 12 years and found that those who ate foods such as pasta, chips, and crackers had a 29 percent to 41 percent greater chance of developing depression.
And, unfortunately, those weren't the only trigger foods. Women who drank soft drinks and ate fatty red meat were also more likely to be treated for or be diagnosed with depression.
From a science perspective, the connection really lies in the fact that these foods make up what's called an "inflammatory dietary pattern," which already was linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer in previous studies. This study isn't the first to also link inflammation to depression, but it is the most comprehensive to date.
But there is a silver lining. According to study coauthor Michel Lucas, foods including coffee, olive oil, and even red wine can help reduce both inflammation and depression. A Mediterranean diet, one with a lot of olive oil, fish and vegetables has also been linked to lower rates of depression.