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Fight Depression by Using Olive Oil

A study found that the high intake of foods rich in trans fat can result to an increased risk of depression while eating foods rich in healthy fats like olive oil helps in reducing the risk.


Trans Fat

Trans fats can come from different sources and they naturally occur in meats and dairy products. They are commonly formed when vegetable oil is partially hydrogenated which converts it into semi-solids for a variety of uses and food applications. Food manufacturers have been using trans fat since it has a more stable flavor and longer shelf life. But different studies had found out that trans fat can increase the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood and result to health problems like hypertension, cardiovascular disease, chronic illnesses and obesity.

A few cities in the United States, including New York, had banned the use of trans fat in the preparation of food in restaurants and other food establishments. In addition to the known adverse effects of trans fat, a study from Spain includes a higher risk of depression to the list.

Trans Fat Can Increase the Risk of Depression

Researchers from the University of Navarra in Spain found that the consumption of foods and other source rich in trans fat can result to an increased risk of depression while eating foods rich in healthier fatty acids like olive oil can have the opposite effect. The study was based on the results of the SUN project which consisted of the more than 12,000 Spanish volunteers. The researchers found that study participants with the most amount of trans fat intake had a 48 percent greater risk of developing depression than participants who had less or no trans fat consumption. Their findings were published in the open online access journal PloS One. The study also found that monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats like olive oil can lower the risk of depression.

The study was led by a professor of preventive medicine, Miguel Martinez. He noted that their study was based on a population with a very low trans fat intake. He added that, despite their limited trans fat consumption, they showed higher risk of suffering depression of about 50 percent. The trans fat consumption of the study participants only amounted to 0.4 percent of the total energy intake. Martinez explained that their findings are important especially to countries with high trans fat consumption like the United States which is at 2.5 percent.

The study participants consisted of more than 7000 women and 5000 men, whose ages averaged at 37. 5 years old. They were all part of the SUN project of the University of Navarra. The data gathered from the participants showed a strong link between trans fat intake and the risk of depression. The researchers said that the link was persistent and robust in each variation of the study. They were also able to observe the effects of healthier fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids from olive oil to the risk of depression and found that these can help in lowering the risk. But despite the promising results, Martinez and his team said that their study will need further support from more studies and trials.

Depression

Depression is a serious health condition that causes drastic changes in mood, behavior and physical well-being. It has been found to significantly affect a person’s life as well as the lives of other people around him.  It is thought to be caused by different environmental, psychological and physical factors. In most cases, depression develops after physical and/or psychological trauma. But it can also happen for no apparent reason. Most people experience depression only once in their entire lifetime but others may suffer from a series of episodes with short intervals in between. For severe cases, medication may need to be taken permanently. Though depression can cripple a person’s ability to function properly, it is relatively more treatable than other psychological conditions.

The symptoms of depression includes unexplainable physical problems like headaches and back pain, sudden urge to cry for no clear reason, suicidal thoughts, difficulty in remembering, making decisions, concentrating and thinking, feelings of guilt and worthlessness, moments of self-pity and self-blame, tiredness, fatigue and lack of energy, edginess and increased indecisiveness, restlessness and agitation, excessive sleeping or insomnia, reduced sex drive, and feelings of frustration, unhappiness and sadness due to small things. The symptoms can vary depending on the person’s age and gender.

Medical professionals look at different possible causes of depression. The condition can be caused by changes in brain chemistry, dysfunction of neurotransmitters, hormonal imbalance, genetic make-up, early childhood trauma and sad life events like the loss of a loved one.

Health Benefits of Olive Oil

Olive oil is good for the heath. It is one of the richest sources of healthy fatty acids like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. People living in the Mediterranean regions who have high olive oil consumption had been found to have better health and healthier hearts than people from other regions.

A study consisting of more than 5600 study participants found that following a Mediterranean diet can lower the risk of death from all natural causes. The researchers followed the participants for more than 6 years. They observed that people who are following a Mediterranean diet had 50 percent lower mortality rate than those who consumed foods rich in trans fat. They concluded that diet plans for the elderly needs to include more olive oil to promote longevity.

In 2004, the US Federal Drug Administration permitted the publication of claims saying that using olive oil can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Olive oil is not only rich in healthy fatty acids but it also contains health-promoting nutrients like phenolic compounds and antioxidants. The other compounds in olive oil like oleic acid and vitamin E prevents the oxidation of cholesterol and prevents it from creating plaques on the walls of the arteries. Olive oil also reduces the amount of free radicals in the body and the occurrence of inflammation. Health professionals recommend the regular use of olive for those with hypertensive conditions and people with high risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Olive oil has also been found to improve the cell’s response to insulin, making it a good recommendation for people with diabetes.


Sources

whfoods.com
foodnavigator.com
mayoclinic.org
mayoclinic.com

Related Posts

  1. Giving Cake the Olive Oil Treatment
  2. Trans Fats Increase a Woman’s Infertility Risk by 70 to 100 Percent, Study Finds
  3. Olive Oil May Prevent Breast Cancer
  4. Benefits of Olive Oil Include Fighting Ulcerative Colitis
  5. Another Reason to Lose and Maintain Weight: Survey Shows Strong Links between Depression and Obesity
  


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