More Information

 

Dr Felice Jacka, on 03 5260 3084 or 0422 194218.

Emma O’Neill, Media Unit, University of Melbourne on 03 83447220 or 0432758734.

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Eating your way to better mental health
Women who eat a healthy diet may reduce their risk of developing anxiety and depression according to new research led by the University of Melbourne.

The study found that women with a diet high in vegetables, fruit, fish, wholegrain and lean meat were less likely to have depressive and/or anxiety disorders, while those with a diet high in processed foods and ‘junk’ were more likely to suffer from these disorders.

Lead author of the study, Dr Felice Jacka, from the Department of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Melbourne, and Barwon Health’s Clinical and Biomedical Sciences, says that even after taking into account other demographic and lifestyle factors such as age, socioeconomic status and exercise, these findings persisted.

More than 1000 women filled in detailed questionnaires regarding their normal diet and mental health symptoms for the research, and underwent clinical interviews to assess the presence of depressive and anxiety disorders.

While previous research has implicated a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium and folate as increasing the risk of depressive illness; this is the first study in the world to examine the whole diet in relation to major depression and anxiety disorders.

Dr Jacka says she hopes this study, which has been published in the American Journal of Psychiatry this week, will help people reduce the risk of mental illness

“I hope this research will help reduce the burden of illness in the community and improve outcomes for people suffering from these crippling illnesses,” she says.

“It seems the diet that helps reduce your risk for heart and other medical diseases may  reduce your risk for depression and anxiety too.”

For more information contact:

Dr Felice Jacka, on 03 5260 3084 or 0422 194218.

Emma O’Neill, Media Unit, University of Melbourne on 03 83447220 or 0432758734.