- Nut consumption linked to 17% lower risk of depression, scientists say
- Just a daily potion of 30g of nuts is enough to reap the anti-inflammatory benefits
Whether it’s peanuts in the pub, nuts in a salad, or just a tasty trail mix, most of us love nuts in one form or another.
Now there’s a better excuse to go crazy with them – because they might provide an unexpected mental health benefit.
The researchers looked at data from more than 13,500 people in the UK aged 37 to 73, who were depression-free at the start of the study.
Participants’ nut consumption was recorded, including unsalted nuts such as almonds, cashews and pistachios, salted or roasted walnuts and peanuts.
Scientists say walnuts’ anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects on the brain may be behind these findings
They were followed for five years, during which 8% were diagnosed with depression.
The analysis found that low to moderate nut consumption – the equivalent of one 30g serving per day – was linked to 17% lower risk of depression compared to those who did not eat nuts.
These findings were independent of other lifestyle and health factors, the scientists said, adding that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of walnuts on the brain may be behind these findings.
Lead author Bruno Bizzozero-Peroni, from the University of Castilla-La Mancha, Spain, said: “Our results highlight another benefit of nut consumption, with a 17% decrease in associated depression to the consumption of nuts.
“It provides an even stronger rationale for people to get excited about consuming nuts.”
Writing in the journal Clinical Nutrition, the team said: “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 key finding is that regular low-to-moderate nut consumption is associated with … a lower risk of depression compared to nut-free consumption.
“Our results highlight the potential role of nut consumption as a healthy eating behavior in preventing depression in those without other known risk factors for depression such as obesity, unhealthy lifestyle behaviors , loneliness and medical conditions.
“Given that diet is a modifiable lifestyle factor, future long-term clinical trials should assess whether nut consumption is an effective strategy for preventing depression in adults.”
A 30g serving of nuts is roughly equivalent to 20 almonds, 10 Brazil nuts, 15 cashews, 40 peanuts or 30 pistachios.
WHAT SHOULD A BALANCED DIET RESULT IN?
Meals should be potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains, according to the NHS
• Eat at least 5 servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruits and vegetables count
• Meals based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starches, ideally whole grains
• 30 grams of fiber per day: This is equivalent to eating all of the following foods: 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 whole-grain crackers, 2 thick slices of whole-grain bread, and a large baked potato with the skin on.
• Having dairy products or dairy alternatives (like soy beverages) choosing low fat and low sugar options
• Eat beans, legumes, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 servings of fish per week, one of which should be fatty)
• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consume them in small amounts
• Drink 6 to 8 cups/glasses of water per day
• Adults should consume less than 6 g of salt and 20 g of saturated fat for women or 30 g for men per day
Source: NHS Eatwell Guide