We know that the foods we eat can affect us in a number of ways, from being extremely beneficial to very harmful. We recognize that eating a variety of healthy foods can bring us more energy, better sleep and mental health boosts — and on the other hand, eating heavily processed foods can result in a number of health problems, including stroke, heart disease and more. And now, a recent study from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School found a link between the consumption of ultra-processed foods and an increase in the risk of depression.

The study found a nearly 50 percent increase in the risk of depression for those who consumed nine portions or more of ultra-processed foods a day. Ultra-processed foods, which include those with added artificial flavorings, preservatives, whitening, and sometimes modification to the food itself, stripping it of some of its nutrient components, can trigger some unhealthy bodily processes. Researchers also observed that foods and drinks containing artificial sweeteners could increase the incidence of depression.

While more research is being conducted, it’s clear that eating large amounts of highly processed foods can negatively impact not only physical health, but mental health as well. To read more, visit the PBS News article here.

The connection between ultra-processed foods and depression