Chomping beef burgers can help cure depression and make us happy, boffins have found.
A study of 440,000 Brits found that beef was linked to a lower risk of depression.
Nutrients found in beef, including iron, zinc, protein and B vitamins, are known to support brain function and may help lift our moods.
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A team of psychiatrists from National Taiwan University, Massachusetts General Hospital and other centres reported their findings in the Journal of Affective Disorders.
They said: “This is the first study reporting a potential, beneficial causal effect of beef intake on lowering the risk of major depression.
“There is extensive evidence that diet may influence the risk and symptoms of depression.
“To adhere to a healthy diet, mainly the Mediterranean diet, and to avoid a pro-inflammatory diet were associated with reduced risk of clinical depression.
“We found that higher beef intake may be protective against major depressive disorder.
“A recent review of the association between meat abstention and depression showed mixed results.
“However, the majority of studies, and especially the most rigorous ones, demonstrated a higher risk of depression in those who avoided meat.”
The study involved examining genes associated with eating more beef and seeing if the same genetic makeup was also linked to depression.
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It found that several dietary habits are genetically linked with major depression.
Non-oily fish was among foods found to be associated with a higher risk of depressive illness.
However the research, which included analysing the diets of 45,000 people with depression, concluded that further validation of the findings is required.
It said: “Despite these limitations, to our knowledge this study is the most comprehensive… to date to evaluate the causal role of dietary habits on the risk of major depressive disorder.
“Identification of protective dietary habits for major depressive disorder is crucial for primary prevention.”
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