Can a poor diet predict depression in women? Perhaps. The American Society for Nutrition just published the results of a long-term study of 4,215 people that examined whether or not dietary patterns were associated with future risk of depressive symptoms. Using the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI), self-reported use of antidepressants and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale as measurement tools, researchers found a correlation between recurrent depressive symptoms and a poor diet, but only for women, not men.

According to the report, “Women who maintained high AHEI scores or improved their scores during the 10-year measurement period had 65% (2003–2004) and 68% (2008–2009) lower odds of subsequent recurrent depressive symptoms than did women who maintained low AHEI scores.”

Some of the components of the AHEI were vegetables, fruit, trans fat and the ratio of polyunsaturated fat to saturated fat. It’s possible that an apple a day can help you have a cheery day after all!

Alexandra Williams, MA

Alexandra Williams has taught fitness for 17 years and has a master’s degree in agency counseling, with an emphasis on marriage and family. Her professional training has forced her to scrutinize her own value system, especially as she attempts to raise ethical children. The author wishes to thank Jack Raglin and Jim Gavin for their helpful insights and suggestions.

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