Scientists from Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos and elsewhere found that vegetarians have around twice as many depressive episodes as meat-eaters.
Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life.
Possible causes include a combination of biological, psychological, and social sources of distress.
Increasingly, research suggests that these factors may cause changes in brain function, including the altered activity of certain neural circuits in the brain.
The persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest that characterizes major depression can lead to a range of behavioral and physical symptoms.
These may include changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, concentration, daily behavior, or self-esteem. Depression can also be associated with thoughts of suicide.
Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat (red meat, poultry, seafood, insects, and the flesh of any other animal).
It may also include abstaining from eating all by-products of animal slaughter. Vegetarianism. Description. Diet derived from plants, with or without eggs and dairy.
The link between vegetarianism and depression is still unclear.
In the current study, researchers aimed to examine the association between a meatless diet and the risk of depression among adults.
They used data from the ELSA-Brasil cohort, which included 14,216 Brazilians aged 35 to 74 years.
A meatless diet was defined in a food frequency questionnaire.
The team found a positive link between depressive episodes and a meatless diet.
People who did not eat meat experienced about twice the frequency of depressive episodes as people who ate meat.
The team suggests that depressive episodes are more prevalent in individuals who do not eat meat, and the link is independent of socioeconomic and lifestyle factors.
Nutrient deficiencies do not explain this association. The researchers say that the nature of the association remains unclear, and more studies are needed to clarify the causal link.
The research was published in the Journal of Affective Disorders and conducted by Ingrid Kohl et al.
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