What comes first, depression or fast food intoxication? Investigations seem to indicate the latter in adults; Studies have even shown that a healthier diet can reduce depressive symptoms. A research group at the University of Alabama in Birmingham suggested that this might also apply to adolescents and conducted a multi-year study of 84 teenagers to prove it.
The teenagers of the study, all living in Birmingham, came from low-income families, and were shared equally between husband and wife; 95% were black and were on average 13.36 years old at the beginning of the study. Rather than relying on the children themselves to report on the health of their diet, the researchers took urine samples and measured the levels of available sodium and potassium. High levels of sodium indicate a high intake of salty and processed foods, while high levels of potassium indicate a diet full of fruits, vegetables, fish and poultry. At the same time as the urine was being collected, the adolescents were asked to rate their degree of depression on a four-point scale, with four being the most depressed. One and a half years later, the researchers collected more urine and asked the children again how depressed they are.
It turned out that children with an increase in the sodium content in their diet also experienced an increase in depression. (Potassium levels did not seem to be such a strong indicator.) So the healthy food business is likely to have something to offer! The scientists are not sure why – intestinal bacteria? Neurotransmitters? – Get ready for further research.