Body & Fitness

Low zinc levels linked to depression

Zinc could help prevent the blues. Research shows women who have a low intake of the mineral, which is found in foods such as peanuts and Marmite, are more likely to have depression.

Studies suggest patients with major depression have low levels of the mineral, however, their levels return to normal after successful drug treatment for it.

US researchers studied the diet and supplement use of around 3500 men and women with and without depression.

Women with low zinc intake were 80% more likely to have depression, but no effect was seen in men.

Just how zinc could have such an effect is not clear. One theory is it acts on nerve cells to change the balance of chemicals involved in the mood.

Tiny tweaks:

Check the label on your favourite packs of sausages if you’re trying to cut down on salt intake. A survey by Consensus Action on Salt and Health found that 97% of brands contain more salt in a single sausage than a packet of ready-salted crisps.

Pop fruit into a brighter bowl to encourage your family to eat more. A study in the US found sales of fresh fruit in school cafeterias doubled when put in colourful containers. The researchers say getting children to improve their food choices can be as simple as making food seem cooler, more visible and as convenient as the less healthy alternatives.

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