Eating too much pasta, the Italian delicacy, may spur the risk of depression, especially in women, researchers have found.
The study, conducted by the researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, have found links between eating certain kinds of foods like pasta, chips and crackers and the heightened risk of inflammation and mood disorders.
The link was particularly strong in women, researchers say.
According to the findings of the study, women who ate diets rich in refined grains like pasta were a third more likely to suffer from depression as against their counterparts who did not consume such foods.
For the purpose of the study, researchers tracked 43,000 women between ages 50 and 77 over a 12 year span. None of the women suffered from depression or mood disorders at the start of the study.
The participants were required to provide the details of their dietary intake. Researchers found that women who consumed a diet rich in sugary drinks, fatty red meat and refined grains such as pasta, white bread and chips were more likely to be diagnosed with or seek treatment for depression over a 12-year period.
Such foods raised the risk of depression by 29 to 41 percent, researchers highlighted.
On the contrary, women who ate a diet rich in olive oil, vegetables, fish, and sweet potatoes ran a far less risk of suffering from depression.
Furthermore, the findings also established that such diets raised the odds of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer. Blood tests of women who developed depression by the end of the study also revealed significantly higher scores for three biomarkers of the kind of inflammation linked to ailments including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.
While the researchers were unable to find that exact cause and effect relationship, they speculate that diets rich in refined grains fuelled inflammation linked to impaired mental health.
The findings of the study are reported in the current issue of the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity,