Handful of nuts a day may help prevent depression - New study

The positive impact of nuts on our mental health

Eating just a handful of organic nuts such as almonds, cashews, walnuts, peanutspistachios, and hazelnuts daily may help you lower the risk of depression by 17%, new study results revealed. 

The research results were published in the journal Clinical Nutrition and suggest that consuming nuts have a positive impact on human mental health. 

Based on data from 13,000 adults

Scientists involved in the research gathered data from Biobank, an online database of medical, lifestyle and food habits records of half a million people in the UK. The team analysed data from more than 13,000 people aged 37-73 between 2007 and 2020.

One serving a day helps prevent depression

The research results suggest that adults who declared consuming a 30 g serving of nuts every day were less likely to get diagnosed with depression compared to those who did not eat nuts at all.

Health properties of nuts

The study does not explain why this happens, but the scientists claim it is related to nuts' anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Nuts contain vital and high-quality nutrients like phenols or phytosterols, fibre, healthy protein, vitamins, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids and essential micronutrients that play an important role in mental health. 

"Our findings highlight yet another benefit of consuming nuts, with a 17% decrease in depression associated with nut consumption.

"This provides an even stronger rationale for people to become enthusiastic about consuming nuts," said Bruno Bizzozero-Peroni from the Health and Social Research Centre at the University of Castilla-La Mancha in Spain. 

Diet as a factor of mood disorders

The scientists said this finding was regardless of other factors influencing mental health, such as medical conditions, body mass index and lifestyle of the participants. 

The team wrote: "Our results highlight the potential role of nut consumption as a healthy dietary behaviour to prevent depression in those free of other known risk factors for depression, such as obesity, unhealthy lifestyle behaviours (smoking, frequent alcohol consumption, low intake of fruits and vegetables, insufficiently active, and inadequate sleep duration), loneliness, and medical conditions such as cardiovascular, metabolic, or mental comorbidities."


Commenting on the study, Dr Jenna Macciochi, senior lecturer in immunology at the University of Sussex, who was not involved in the research, said: "This study builds on the growing literature in nutritional psychology showing diet to be a factor in mood disorders. Specifically, they found a positive association between nut intake and a lower risk of depression compared to no nut intake.

"This study shows association and does not prove a mechanistic effect, but the authors do suggest multiple feasible mechanisms through which nut consumption may be working. I think there is still a lot we need to learn regarding the potential mechanisms at play and a deeper understanding of this in the future will be useful when making dietary recommendations.

"In the meantime, the best evidence for supporting good mental health through diet is probably from consuming a Mediterranean-style anti-inflammatory diet pattern of which nuts are considered to be a component of."

Why are nuts good for improving your mood? 

The best nuts to improve your mood are those packed with healthy plant-based proteins, fibre, healthy fats, antioxidants, melatonin, magnesium, zinc and tryptophan, the amino acid responsible for producing serotonin which is a chemical known for mood-boosting. It plays an essential role in multiple body functions such as sleep, general mood, digestion, healing, bone and blood health.

What are the best nuts for depression?







Brazil nuts

Pine nuts





AlmondsHazelnutsHealthy dietHealthy eatingHealthy foodMental healthNutsPistachiosWalnuts

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