There are debates in terms of vegetarian or non-vegetarian food is good for health. While some experts claimed that people who consume only vegetarian food are healthier than others, a new study by US researchers suggested exactly the opposite in terms of mental health.

A group of US researchers at the University of Alabama have conducted a new study which has revealed that meat consumers are less likely to be depressed when compared with vegetarians and vegans.

Meat food
Meat food Pixabay

Food and mental health

As per the study, published recently, people with a plant-based diet were twice as likely to take prescribed drugs for mental illness in their lifetime compared to those who consume non-vegetarian food, especially meat products.

The research titled, "Meat and mental health: a systematic review of meat abstention and depression, anxiety, and related phenomena", revealed that one if three vegetarians suffer from mental issues like depression, anxiety and self-harm.

In the paper, the scientists who conducted the research wrote, "The main outcome was the disparity in the prevalence of depression, anxiety, and related conditions in meat-consumers versus meat-abstainers. Secondary outcomes included mood and self-harm behaviours."

Sad
Mental health Wikimedia Commons

But the researchers mentioned that their research does not support avoiding meat consumption for overall psychological health benefits.

An author from the University of Alabama, Dr Edward Archer stated that while risks and benefits of vegan and vegetarian foods have been debated for centuries, the new findings showed that "meat eaters have better psychological health." In addition, he also explained that mental health should be taken into consideration in terms of understanding the benefits and risks of particular dietary patterns.

Meat vs Vegetarian Diet: It is a debatable topic

Over the years, experts have shown the positive side of relying on only a vegetarian diet. This includes claims that say, such food items are rich in protein, omega 3 and fats. Plant-based foods like pulses, grains, fruits, vegetables and grains are packed with essential nutrients.

Some experts also claim that vegetarian food is good for heart as it reduces the risk of heart disease. Some studies also suggest that vegetarians happen to be leaner as compared to non-vegetarians and such fibre-based veg-foods also improve the digestion system.