Fiber is a commonly recommended part of a healthy diet.
That’s because it’s good for your health in so many ways—from weight management to reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer.
In a new study, researchers found that fiber might be linked with a reduced risk of depression, especially in premenopausal women.
Dietary fiber is found mainly in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
The research was conducted by a team at Chung-ang University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Depression is a common and serious mental health condition that not only affects a person’s ability to perform daily activities but can also lead to suicide.
It’s estimated that more than 264 million people worldwide have depression, with numbers increasing over time.
This debilitating condition is much more common in women, and there are a number of theories as to why this is the case.
Changes in hormone levels in perimenopausal women have been linked to depression.
Because of the serious consequences and prevalence of depression, many studies have been undertaken to evaluate treatment options beyond the use of antidepressants.
Lifestyle interventions, including diet, exercise, and mindfulness, may help to reduce the risk for depression.
In this study, the team tested more than 5,800 women of various ages. They focused on the link between dietary fiber intake and depression in women by menopause status.
The team found an inverse association between dietary fiber intake and depression in premenopausal women.
Research has suggested that estrogen depletion may play a role in explaining why postmenopausal women don’t benefit as much from increased dietary fiber because estrogen affects the balance of gut microorganisms found in premenopausal and postmenopausal women.
The link between dietary fiber and depression may be partially explained by gut-brain interactions because it is theorized that changes in gut-microbiota composition may affect neurotransmission.
Fiber improves the richness and diversity of gut microbiota.
The team says the findings show ‘you are what you eat’. What people eat has a profound effect on the gut microbiome which appears to play a key role in health and disease.
One author of the study is Kim, Yunsun, M.D.
The study is published in Menopause.
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