I love to find studies that show the power of food in relation to disease processes or healing processes. In the last several years there has been much discussion about the effects that eating bad fats like saturated fats and trans-fatty acids have on our health and especially our heart health. I just discovered a study that talks about how these bad fats can also increase the risk of depression. Researchers from the Universities of Navarra and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria conducted a study and found that eating trans fatty acids and saturated fats increase the risk of developing depression. Conversely, intake of olive oil, a monounsaturated fat, can help reduce depression. This study was conducted with over 12,000 volunteers over a six year period of time. The subjects who developed depression during the study had high intakes of trans and saturated fats from fast foods and commercial products. The study found the higher the amount of bad fats in the diet, the worse the damage was to health. Finally, the study also showed that good fats found in fish oil and vegetables oils produced positive health effects on the body.
Bad fats are saturated fats, trans-fatty acids and hydrogenated oils. Saturated fats are found in red meats, butter, dairy products and eggs from corn fed chickens. Trans-fatty acids and partially hydrogenated oils are found in many baked goods including: crackers, breads, pastries and baked goods. Trans fatty acids are also found in fried foods like French fries, donuts, fried chicken, etc. Good fats are found in fish oils and vegetables oils made up of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats like olive or safflower oil.
Oils and fats are the building blocks of our cells, blood vessels and brain, among other organs. The types of oils we ingest into our body are the types of oil our body uses to replenish our organs. If we put bad oils into the body their effects will show up in our brain. We really are what we eat, so eating good oils reduces the risk of depression and, as other studies have indicated, heart disease as well.