Looks like healthy meals make for happy lives. This adage appears to be in keeping with the findings of a study published in the November 2009 issue of The British Journal of Psychiatry.

After reviewing dietary data gleaned from more than 3,400 participants enrolled in the Whitehall II Study, researchers found that those with the highest intake of whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables and fish, had significantly lower incidences of clinical depression than those who ate a diet laden with processed foods. Specifically, this
5-year study found that those who consumed a lot of processed meat, chocolate, sweetened desserts,
refined cereals, high-fat dairy and fried foods were more vulnerable to depression over time.

While the researchers did not discover the cause and effect of their findings, they did suggest that certain foods may be the mechanisms of action. For example, the result could be the cumulative effect of eating the healthy omega-3 fatty acids in fish, antioxidants in produce and folates in legumes and cruciferous leafy vegetables.

The study concluded that even
after adjusting for factors such as smoking and fitness level, “a processed food dietary pattern is
a risk for . . . depression 5 years
later, whereas a whole food pattern
is protective.”

As an added bonus, convenience and processed foods are often pricier than whole foods, so a poor diet may be damaging to your wallet in addition to your health!