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Vegetarians are more likely to be depressed than meat eaters: What are the underlying causes?

2022-09-29T18:42:24.774Z

According to a study, people who eat vegetarian food are more likely to suffer from depression. But what is the reason?



According to a study, people who eat vegetarian food are more likely to suffer from depression.

But what is the reason?

Does a vegetarian diet affect the psyche?

Researchers at the Ruhr University Bochum asked themselves this question.

In a meta-analysis, they came to the conclusion that there is indeed a connection between depressive mood and vegetarianism.

The number of depressed people in the vegetarian group was higher than among the meat eaters.

"We were able to show that people who eat vegetarian food have statistically significantly higher values ​​in depression questionnaires than those who eat meat," study author Jette Borawski is quoted as saying in a press release from the Ruhr University Bochum (RUB).

Previous studies have shown that vegetarians are more likely to be depressed.

In order to prove or refute this, Borawski together with Prof. Dr.

Sebastian Ocklenburg from RUB Biopsychology conducted a meta-analysis.

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Eating a vegetarian diet not only protects the environment, but is also good for your health.

Or?

© Imago

Possible explanation why a vegetarian diet can indicate depression

The research team based the analysis on the data of 49,889 people (8,057 vegetarians and 41,832 meat eaters) and compared the answers in the questionnaires that were handed out.

The bottom line: Vegetarians had higher depression scores than meat eaters.

However, there is one big catch in the study: "We were not able to determine what connection there is on the basis of this data," says study author Borawski.

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Another study provides more information with regard to the exact connections: According to Jette Borawski, it was able to show that it is not the case that the vegetarian diet causes depression, but that over time a depressive mood often occurs first and then a change in diet takes place, says the press release from the University of Bochum.

"There are two possible explanations for this: It could be that people who are mentally unwell want to do something good for themselves through healthy eating.

On the other hand, one's own bad mood could increase empathy for animals living in poor housing conditions, which in turn increases the likelihood of a plant-based diet," says Borawski.

Nutrition survey

Don't miss anything: You can find everything to do with health and well-being in the regular health newsletter from our partner Merkur.de.

Benefits of the vegetarian diet

Good blood values, lower risk of obesity and a sign against factory farming: There are a number of positive effects in favor of a vegetarian diet.

There is also no risk of a nutrient deficiency by not eating meat and sausage if you do not exclude vegetarian foods and often use legumes such as beans, which are considered good iron suppliers.

The following foods also prevent nutrient deficiencies:

  • Vegan and vegetarian sources of calcium: mineral water with a lot of calcium, calcium-fortified plant-based drinks, dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, tofu

  • vegan and vegetarian iron suppliers: legumes, nuts, dark green leafy vegetables, oatmeal

  • vegetarian vitamin B12 sources: eggs and dairy products

List of rubrics: © Imago

Source: merkur

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