Children, who are in their preteens, are known for having a defiant attitude and dramatic mood swings. But in the last decade it has been noticed that a much more disturbing characteristic, depression has been increasing. A new study has found that fast food and low plant-based diet could be one of the culprits for the increasing number.
Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham had analysed urine from a group of middle schoolers and found high levels of sodium and low levels of potassium. Lead author Sylvie Mrug who is also the chair of the psychology department at UAB said, “High sodium, you’ve got to think of highly processed food. This includes fast food, frozen meals and unhealthy snacks.” The author added that low potassium is an indication of a diet that lacks healthy fruits and vegetables that are rich in potassium like beans, sweet potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, oranges, bananas, avocados, yoghurt and even salmon.
The study has also found that high urine levels of sodium and potassium at baseline predicted more signs of depression a year and a half later despite adjusting for variables like blood pressure, weight, age and sex. Dietitian Lisa Drayer, who is also a CNN health and nutrition contributor said, “The study findings make sense, as potassium-rich foods are healthy foods”. Drayer added that if the adolescents included more potassium-rich foods in their diet, then they are likely to have more energy and feel better overall and can lead to a better sense of well-being and improved mental health.
It is noticed that depression among the middle-schoolers is on the rise. Even prior studies have earlier found a link between fast food and depression in adults. Over-processed foods have the ability to add 500 calories to your diet everyday and can cause weight gain. Even social media use can harm teens’ mental health by disrupting positive activities.
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