Can A Vegetarian Diet Increase The Risk Of Depression In People?

By: Chandana Rao

Lately, the minute you open the health section in the newspaper or on websites, you see a lot of articles giving you information on the pros and cons of a vegetarian diet, right? 

Going on vegetarian diets and even vegan diets seems to be the new fad among health and fitness enthusiasts across the globe.

In some countries and cultures, especially in India, many people have been following a vegetarian diet since centuries due to various traditional and religious sentiments. 

However, in the western parts of the world, vegetarianism and veganism are fairly new concepts which more and more people are embracing today.

vegetarian diet

While some people turn into vegetarians because they abhor animal cruelty and do not want to consume animal meat, the others may do it due to the various health benefits a vegetarian diet is known to offer.

Numerous studies conducted over the years on vegetarian diets have said that, this diet helps people lose weight, aids a better gut health, prevents heart diseases and stroke, improves immune system and much more.

So, naturally a lot of people have started to follow the vegetarian diet and seem to be quite satisfied with the results.

Just like how studies claim that vegetarianism is healthy, there are studies stating that a meat-based diet is not very healthy, especially for the gut and weight issues.

However, there are two sides to everything, even when it comes to diets and so, vegetarianism does come with pros and cons. 

vegetarian diet

Now, we may know that a balanced diet includes all the essential nutrients like vitamins, protein, minerals, carbohydrates, etc.

And a balanced diet is very much required to remain healthy, both mentally and physically.

Now, as meat is the primary source of natural protein and other minerals, vegetarians may lack certain nutrients in their body.

A recent research study has found that vegetarians could be at a higher risk of developing depression.

Let us find out how, here.

Link Between Vegetarian Diet And Depression:

Depression is a mental ailment which has become so common these days that we ourselves could be suffering from it or would surely know someone who is affected by this condition.

The demands of the modern world such as stressful jobs, financial commitments, relationship concerns, etc., can give rise to a high level of stress which in turn leads to depression.

Depression can also be caused by heredity factors and certain changes in the brain chemicals, without the influence of external factors.

vegetarian diet

Some of the symptoms of depression are general discontent, deep sadness, anxiety, apathy, mood swings, suicidal tendencies, fatigue, etc.

Now, researchers from the University Of Bristol have found that a vegetarian diet may lack enough vitamin B12, which is primarily found in meat.

Vitamin B12 is known to prevent and even reduce depression symptoms by keeping the serotonin levels in the brain balanced.

So, when a person does not get enough vitamin B12 in his diet, it could up the risk of depression and also worsen depression symptoms.

In conclusion, a vegetarian diet can increase the risk of depression and vitamin B12 supplement must be taken, after consulting your doctor.

Read more about: vegetarian, diet, depression
Story first published: Monday, November 6, 2017, 8:00 [IST]
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