Felice Jacka, associate professor from Deakin's University Barwon Psychiatric Research Unit investigated the link between the consumption of red meat and the presence of depressive and anxiety disorders in more than 1,000 women from the Geelong region.
"We had originally thought that red meat might not be good for mental health, as studies from other countries had found red meat consumption to be associated with physical health risks, but it turns out that it actually may be quite important," Jacka was quoted as saying in the journal Psychotherapy Psychosomatics.
"When we looked at women consuming less than the recommended amount of red meat in our study, we found that they were twice as likely to have a diagnosed depressive or anxiety disorder as those consuming the recommended amount," said a university statement.
"Even when we took into account the overall healthiness of the women's diets, as well as other factors such as their socioeconomic status, physical activity levels, smoking, weight and age, the relationship between low red meat intake and mental health remained," Jacka said.
"Interestingly, there was no relationship between other forms of protein, such as chicken, pork, fish or plant-based proteins, and mental health," she said.
"We found that regularly eating more than the recommended amount of red meat was also related to increased depression and anxiety," Jacka said. She also suggested sticking with grass fed meats whenever possible.