The Surprising Mental Health Benefits of Eating Nuts: Study Finds a 17% Decrease in Depression Risk

The Surprising Mental Health Benefits of Eating Nuts: Study Finds a 17% Decrease in Depression Risk

Title: Study Shows Eating Nuts Linked to Reduced Risk of Depression: Researchers Suggest a 17% Decrease

Date: August 8, 2023 | 10:04am

Author: Brooke Steinberg

A recent study published in the journal Clinical Nutrition has discovered a surprising link between consuming nuts and reducing the risk of depression. Lead author Bruno Bizzozero-Peroni from the University of Castilla-La Mancha in Spain revealed that eating approximately 30 grams of nuts daily could potentially lower the risk of depression in adults.

The study observed more than 13,500 individuals aged between 37 and 73 in the UK who did not have a depression diagnosis at the beginning of the research. The researchers assessed depression, defined as a self-reported physician diagnosis or use of antidepressants, both at the start and throughout the study.

Results showed that individuals who consumed low to moderate amounts of nuts experienced a significant 17% decrease in the risk of depression compared to non-nut eaters. The study included the consumption of various nuts, such as unsalted almonds, cashews, pistachios, salted nuts, roasted nuts, and peanuts.

“This study analyzed the prospective association between nut consumption and the risk of depression in a large sample of middle-aged and older adults in the UK,” the authors wrote in the journal.

Researchers analyzed data over a five-year period and determined that 8% of the subjects were diagnosed with depression. Even after accounting for lifestyle and health factors, the findings remained consistent. The researchers pointed out that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of nuts on the brain could possibly explain the observed outcome.

Notably, a single serving of nuts equivalent to 30 grams includes 20 almonds, 10 Brazil nuts, 15 cashews, 40 peanuts, or 30 pistachio kernels. The authors of the study emphasized that these findings highlight the potential role of nut consumption as a healthy dietary behavior to prevent depression in individuals free of other known risk factors.

Considering that diet is a modifiable lifestyle factor, the study authors recommended that future long-term clinical trials should evaluate whether nut consumption can be an effective strategy in preventing depression among adults.

In a separate study published earlier this year in the Food Nutrition Research journal, Scandinavian researchers found that eating a small amount of nuts and seeds daily can also reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The team of scientists suggested that the more nuts consumed, the better, although any intake of nuts is beneficial for heart health.

In conclusion, the growing body of evidence supporting the positive effects of nuts on both mental and physical health emphasizes the importance of incorporating nuts into one’s daily diet. While the study on depression offers new insights, it is essential to consult with healthcare professionals for personalized advice on mental health management.


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