Women Who Cut Out Red Meat Twice As Likely To Suffer Anxiety

The Huffington Post UK  |  By Posted: 22/03/2012 16:38 Updated: 22/03/2012 16:38

Women Red Meat Depression

Cutting red meat out of your diet causes feelings of anxiety and depression, recent research suggests.

Contrary to a recent study claiming that a high consumption of red meat dangerously raises heart attack and stroke risks, new research suggests that eating too little red meat doubles the chances of depression.

Australian researchers from Deakin University and Deakin’s Barwon Psychiatric Research Unit investigated the relationship between a diet of beef and lamb and anxiety and mental disorders. The study looked at the eating habits of over 1,000 women.

Explaining the reasons behind the study, professor Felice Jacka explained in a statement: “We had originally thought that red meat might not be good for mental health, as studies from other countries had found red meat consumption to be associated with physical health risks. But it turns out that it actually may be quite important.”

The study compared the results of women who ate the optimum amount of red meat to those who ate little red meat.

“When we looked at women consuming less than the recommended amount of red meat in our study, we found that they were twice as likely to have a diagnosed depressive or anxiety disorder as those consuming the recommended amount,” explained professor Jacka.

“Even when we took into account the overall healthiness of the women’s diets, as well as other factors such as their socioeconomic status, physical activity levels, smoking, weight and age, the relationship between low red meat intake and mental health remained.

“Interestingly, there was no relationship between other forms of protein, such as chicken, pork, fish or plant-based proteins, and mental health.”

However, the researchers cautioned that it is better to eat a moderate amount of red meat a week than to overindulge.

“We found that regularly eating more than the recommended amount of red meat was also related to increased depression and anxiety.

“We already know that the overall quality of your diet is important to mental health. But it seems that eating a moderate amount of lean red meat, which is roughly 3 to 4 small, palm-sized serves a week, may also be important,” professor Jacka added.

Researchers added that when choosing your red meat, you should opt for grass-fed animals whenever possible.

“We know that red meat in Australia is a healthy product as it contains high levels of nutrients, including the omega-3 fatty acids that are important to mental and physical health.

“This is because cattle and sheep in Australia are largely grass fed. In many other countries, the cattle are kept in feedlots and fed grains, rather than grass. This results in a much less healthy meat with more saturated fat and fewer healthy fats.”

If you're in need of perking up your mood, take a look at these feel-good boosting foods.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Foods That Affect Your Mood

  • Cherry Juice: Helps You Sleep

    Forget the cocoa - if you want a restful night's sleep, it's cherry juice you should be drinking. According to the <a href="http://www.northumbria.ac.uk/sd/academic/lifesciences/" target="_hplink">School of Life Sciences at Northumbria University</a>, the key to a quality night's sleep lies with drinking a glass of Montmorency cherry juice, as it regulates the levels of melatonin in the body which controls our sleep patterns. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/11/02/cherry-juice-helps-you-sleep-longer_n_1070992.html " target="_hplink"><strong>Read the full story on how cherry juice sends you to sleep</strong></a>.

  • Chocolate: Keeps Headaches Away

    New research by the <a href="http://www.dife.de/en/" target="_hplink">German Institute of Human Nutrition</a> shows that regularly consuming as little as a square of dark chocolate a day helps to reduce your blood pressure and thus your chance of suffering from heart disease, strokes, headaches and migraines. Scientists have found that people eating just 7.5 grams of chocolate daily were at a 39% lower risk of having any of the above compared to those who ate just 1.7 grams. Migraines are caused by blood vessel enlargement and the release of chemicals from nerve fibers that coil around these blood vessels, but small amounts of dark chocolate helps maintain a healthy blood flow around the body and brain. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/10/21/five-bad-things-that-ican_n_1024068.html" target="_hplink"><strong>Find out which other 'bad' foods can sometimes good for you</strong></a>.

  • Protein: Energises

    According to e new study by the University of Cambridge, it isn't sugar you need to energise you from your afternoon slump, but protein instead. Contrary to common belief, reaching for protein-rich foods is more beneficial to your energy levels than a sugar-packed snack, as researchers found that orexin cells in the brain which regulate energy balance, wakefulness and reward are more stimulated with amino acids from protein. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/11/22/eating-protein-instead-of-sugar-keeps-you-awake_n_1107273.html" target="_hplink"><strong>Discover which protein snacks are best for energy-boosting</strong></a>.

  • Avocado: Boosts Alertness

    If you're struggling to get motivated, reach for an avocado. It is true that the avocado is a fatty fruit, but it's a monounsaturated fat, which contributes to healthy blood flow and healthy blood flow equates to a healthier, more alert brain. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/11/16/brain-boosting-foods-that-increase-concentration_n_1096824.html?ref=ukdiet-and-nutrition" target="_hplink"><strong>Find out which other foods are great brain-boosters</strong></a>.

  • Dried Figs: Revives Sluggish Digestion

    Every now and again, our digestive system slows down and makes us feel sluggish as a result of junk food. Perk it up with a handful of dried figs, as they tally up an impressive 10g of fibre - essential for a healthy, fatigue-free gut. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/12/29/banish-that-post-christmas-bloat-high-fibre-foods_n_1174063.html" target="_hplink"><strong>Find out which other foods are packed with digestive-friendly fibre</strong></a>.

  • Oily Fish: Boosts Your Memory

    The essential omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish like sardines, herring, trout and mackerel, as well as walnut oil and flaxseeds (linseeds) - are high in Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a fatty acid crucial to maintaining a healthy nervous system. Low DHA levels have been linked to a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and memory loss. Fish also contains iodine, which is known to improve mental clarity.

  • Soup: Aids Concentration

    We all know the 8 to 10 glasses of water a day rule, but not many of us obey it. If you drink more H20, you'll be 'watering' your brain with much-needed liquids which stave off dehydration and aids concentration. Soups are predominately water-based, so in the winter months, use this as an excuse to eat lots of hearty soups and stews. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/10/26/drinking-less-water-linked-to-high-blood-sugar-level_n_1032470.html#s434405&title=Stock_Up_On" target="_hplink"><strong>Find out other clever ways to incorporate water into your diet and how it can help reduce blood sugar levels too</strong></a>.

  • Wholemeal Pasta: Keeps Anger Away

    According to researchers at<a href="http://www.cam.ac.uk/" target="_hplink"> Cambridge University</a>, when the body starts to feel hungry, levels of the brain chemical serotonin, dip, causing a whirlwind of uncontrollable anger. This is why it's important to keep the serotonin levels balanced by eating wholesome, filling foods regularly. Foods like pasta have a high satiety value, meaning they fill you up quicker and for longer. They're also relatively low in energy density, which means they contain few calories compared with how filling they are. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/09/19/why-being-hungry-makes-you-angry_n_969631.html" target="_hplink"><strong>Find out which other foods keep you feeling full (not angry)</strong></a>.

FOLLOW UK LIFESTYLE