How dairy foods may influence depression risk

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Scientists from Deakin University and elsewhere found dairy foods may influence depression risk.

Cultured buttermilk, sour cream, and yogurt are among the most common fermented dairy products in the Western world.

Previous studies have found the health benefits of fermented dairy products.

Fermented dairy foods have been associated with obesity prevention and reduction of the risk of metabolic disorders and immune-related pathologies.

Fermented foods could cause these health benefits by providing the consumer with both easily metabolizable nutrients and beneficial microorganisms

However, evidence on the association between fermented dairy and nonfermented dairy intake, and depression risk is limited.

In this study, researchers examined the associations between total dairy, fermented dairy, and nonfermented dairy intake with 1) the presence of depressive symptoms and 2) the risk of a future diagnosis of depression.

They used data from 2603 Finnish men (aged 42-60 y) from the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study.

The team found that highest fermented dairy intake (compared with lowest) was linked to lower risks of having depressive symptoms.

However, each 100-g increase in nonfermented dairy intake was linked to higher risks of having depressive symptoms.

During a follow-up time of 24 years, 113 men received a diagnosis of depression.

After excluding cheese intake, the team found higher fermented dairy intake was linked to a lower risk of depression diagnosis, which was strengthened after excluding those with elevated depressive symptoms before the follow-up.

But highest nonfermented dairy foods were associated with a much higher risk of depression.

Based on the findings, the team concludes that fermented dairy and nonfermented dairy intake are differentially linked to depression outcomes over a period of 24 years.

These findings suggest that dairy fermentation may influence the association between dairy intake and depression in Finnish men.

The research was published in The Journal of Nutrition and conducted by Meghan Hockey et al.

If you care about depression, please read studies that a vegetarian diet may increase your depression risk, and Vitamin D could help reduce depression symptoms.

For more information about nutrition, please see the recent study about why pizza is a very addictive food, and the MIND diet could improve cognitive health in older people.

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