Published on March 24th, 2012 | by Kim LaCapria0
Red Meat Halves Depression Risk, Study Says
Okay, so last week, we learned that red meat totally ups your risk of coming down with cancer and dying early overall, which is a totally bummer for those of us who spring at each chance we get to devour a raw, fatty piece of prime rib. (Honestly, the whole death risk thing seems to kind of balance out when you think about a life without tasty, tasty ribeye.)
However, this week, it seems that if you die young from eating lots of red meat, at least you might be a sight happier than if you are an elderly vegan. A new study out of Australia has some surprising and good news for burger aficionados, in the form of a study published in the medical journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. The research, which involved 1,000 Australian women, surprised researchers that had originally believed that red meat would have a negative impact on mental health.
Instead, researchers discovered a 50% lower risk of depression in people who consumed roughly the equivalent of a Big Mac’s worth of red meat a day. (Also, new unit of measurement proposal: Big Macs.) Professor Felice Jacka at Deakin University explains that while researchers tried to explain away the connection, when accounting for all factors, it seemed to be the red meat that made the difference:
“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. Vegetarianism was not the explanation either. Only nineteen women in the study were vegetarians, and the results were the same when they were excluded from the study analyses.”
Jacka noted that “women consuming less than the recommended amount of red meat in our study… were twice as likely to have a diagnosed depressive or anxiety disorder as those consuming the recommended amount.”