By – TIMESOFINDIA.COM (via TIMESOFINDIA)
A recent study conducted by the University of Alabama found that one out of three vegetarians have suffered from anxiety or depression in their lifetime.
According to the study, people on a plant based diet were twice or more likely to take prescribed drugs for mental illness and three times more likely to consider suicide as compared to meat eaters.
The study was a collation of 18 other studies involving 160,257 people that scrutinized the link between eating meat and mental health. The study – entitled ‘Meat and Mental Health: A systematic review of meat abstention and depression, anxiety and related phenomena’, evaluated that people who did not eat meat were at significant higher rates of depression, anxiety and self-harm.
In fact it was suggested that turning to vegetarianism or veganism could itself be a ‘behavioral marker’, meaning that these individuals were already experiencing poor mental health.
However, this theory is not confirmed and needs more research. One of the authors of the study said: ‘While the risks and benefits of vegan and vegetarian diets have been debated for centuries, our results show that meat eaters have better psychological health.’
People need to consider their mental health while evaluating the benefits and risks of particular dietary patterns, said the author.
Why does that happen?
Without meat, a vegetarian’s diet tends to have less vitamin B12 and greater intake of omega 6 fatty acids (found n nuts), which has been linked with inflammation and increased risk of mental health problems.
50 per cent vegans and 7 per cent vegetarians have low levels of vitamin B12, which is found in red meat and plays a major role in affecting one’s mood.
Vegetarians and vegans also consume more plant estrogens, particularly if they eat a lot of soy products. The two categories also consume higher levels of pesticides, because their intake of plant based food is higher than average.
To avoid increased risk of depression, anxiety and self-harm behavior, one should eat meat. If someone is a vegan or a vegetarian due to ethical reasons, they should invest extra in strategies to protect their mental health.