When I get a patient facing depression, one of the first things I do -- before I run a single test -- is ask what they've been eating.
And most of the time, the answer to that question tells me everything I need to know -- because people who eat garbage usually end up with a mood down in the dumps.
This food-mood connection has been proven time and again. And now, a new study out of Europe on nearly 9,000 people finds that a steady junk-food habit can boost your risk of depression by up to 51 percent.
The two specific categories with the strongest links to depression were fast food like burgers and pizza and processed pastries such as donuts and croissants.
It didn't take much, either, because the researchers say patients with even a moderate junk habit had a higher risk of depression than those who ate better foods.
The only flaw here is that the consumption levels were tracked using a food frequency questionnaire -- a fairly weak form of research that relies on people to recall not only what they ate, but how much and how often they ate it.
And, as you might imagine, people have a tendency to lie on those things to make it seem like they have better habits than they really do.
Still, there's something to this -- because it's been proven by stronger studies, and it's not hard to see why. Junk food is completely lacking in the nutrients your body needs to function... especially your brain.
What's more, empty carbs can cause your sugar levels to fluctuate wildly -- elevating your mood briefly, and then bringing it crashing back down.
And let's not forget that many people have hidden or undiagnosed food sensitivities that cause or worsen depression and other mood disorders -- and the ingredients and chemicals used in junk food are often the culprit.
Junk in the diet also creates body fat -- and excess body fat can cause your hormones to go haywire. And yes, hormonal imbalances are also a major cause of depression.
I've found that any number of supposedly mental disorders can be cured, or at least dramatically improved, through better diet -- including depression, anxiety, and ADHD.
From food to drink -- I've got something brewing next that you definitely want to see. Keep reading!