Without a focus on whole foods that have natural nutritional synergy the health benefits of vegetarian and vegan diets are harder to argue.
You can be vegan or vegetarian and still have a diet laden with refined foods and foods rich in processed saturated and trans-isomer fatty acids that the body struggles to recognize and properly process.
Vegetarians and vegans should take note to include wholefoods rich in essential fatty acids Authors of a Spanish study on mental health, from the universities of Navarra and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, followed and analyzed the diet and lifestyle of over 12,000 volunteers over six years. At the beginning of none of the participants had been diagnosed with depression; by the end, 657 of them were new sufferers. "Participants with an elevated consumption of trans-fats (fats present in artificial form in industrially-produced pastries and fast food...) presented up to a 48 percent increase in the risk of depression when they were compared to participants who did not consume these fats," a key study author said. Almudena Sanchez-Villegas, associate professor of preventive medicine at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, also noted that in the event "more trans-fats were consumed, the greater the harmful effect they produced in the volunteers." The research team found, at the same time, that after assessing the impact of polyunsaturated fats -- composed of larger amounts of fish and vegetable oils and olive oil, these products "are associated with a lower risk of suffering depression." The report, published in the online journal PLoS ONE, noted the research was performed on a European population that enjoys a relatively low intake of trans-fats -- making up only 0.4 percent "of the total energy ingested by the volunteers." "Despite this, we observed an increase in the risk of suffering depression of nearly 50 percent," said researcher Miguel Martinez. "On this basis we derive the importance of taking this effect into account in countries like the US, where the percentage of energy derived from these fats is around 2.5 percent." The report pointed out that the current number of depression sufferers in the world is around 150 million people, and has increased in recent years. This rise is attributable, according to the authors, "to radical changes in the sources of fats consumed in Western diets, where we have substituted certain types of beneficial fats -- polyunsaturated and monounsaturated in nuts, vegetable oils and fish -- for the saturated and trans-fats found in meats, butter and other products such as mass-produced pastries and fast food." Further fuel to add strength t the argument to include more plantarian foods in one's diet and move towards a new world record of health and sustainability for One World Day