(WSVN) – A new study says vegetarians are almost twice as likely to suffer from depression as those who consumed meat in their diet.
Scientists at Bristol University found that vegetarians were more likely to develop depression due to vitamin and mineral deficiencies that can negatively impact their mental health, Fox 11 reported.
The study, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, said that vegetarian participants had a higher average depression score compared to meat-eaters.
Researchers said the vegetarians’ diet was lower in vitamin B12, which is naturally found in animal products, including meat, eggs, poultry, and dairy. A B12 deficiency can cause mental problems, including depression and behavioral changes.
“Another potential contributing factor is that lower intakes of seafood are thought to be associated with greater risk of depressive symptoms,” researchers wrote.
Vegetarians also tended to eat more nuts that have a higher amount of omega-6 fatty acids, which has been linked to an increased risk of mental health issues.
Those who had been vegetarian for longer were more likely to develop symptoms of depression over time, the study found.
However, prior research has found a number of long-term benefits of a vegetarian diet.
Eating a primarily red-meat diet has been associated with increased risk of heart disease, and research by Harvard University found people who eat mostly processed meats have a higher overall risk of death.
The study did not account whether the decision to adopt a vegetarian diet was a symptom of depression on its own.
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