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Oct 29, 2013 11:13 AM EDT

Pasta and Depression: Research Links Carbs, Red Meat to Mood Disorder

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Certain foods such as pasta can cause clinical depression, according to a new study.

New research by the Harvard School of Public Health found that women who eat a lot of red meat, bread, chips, and pasta may be more prone to depression, the Epoch Times reported.

The 12-year study found women who regularly consumed refined grains, sugary soda and red meats were 29 to 41 percent more likely to seek treatment for depression.

A total of 43,000 women participated in the study. Prior to the study, the women were not diagnosed with depression and their diets ranged from healthy to unhealthy.

As reported by The Epoch Times, the women diagnosed with depression were found to have increased inflammation as well. The inflammation was detected using blood tests. A degree of inflammation is normal in healthy patients, but higher levels can indicate more serious medical issues.­­

Michel Lucas, PhD, of the Harvard School of Public Health, told MSN it's unclear how inflammation and depression are linked.

He said there's more and more evidence of foods that similarly increase inflammation and depression. Lucas added that wine, olive oil, coffee, carrots, sweet potatoes and leafy vegetables can reduce inflammation and depression.

The link between pasta and depression may be surprising, as it is a common ingredient in traditional "comfort foods." However, the research suggests a healthier diet is much better for elevating mood and preventing depression.

According to MSN, a previous study conducted by the University of Eastern Finland found similar results in men. Researchers recorded the diets of 2,000 men, concluding that diet can affect mental, as well as, physical health. The men with healthier diets were found to have a reduced risk of depressive mood disorders.

Researcher Anu Ruusunen said the research also concluded that processed meats, sugary foods, and "junk food," increased symptoms of depression.

The link between depression and pasta underlines the importance of a healthy diet for physical and mental health.

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