October 12, 2009
Mediterranean Diet Cuts Depression?

Eat a better diet to cut your risks of depression.

The researchers studied 10,094 healthy Spanish participants who completed an initial questionnaire between 1999 and 2005. Participants reported their dietary intake on a food frequency questionnaire, and the researchers calculated their adherence to the Mediterranean diet based on nine components (high ratio of monounsaturated fatty acids to saturated fatty acids; moderate intake of alcohol and dairy products; low intake of meat; and high intake of legumes, fruit and nuts, cereals, vegetables and fish).

30% reduction in the risk of depression

After a median (midpoint) of 4.4 years of follow-up, 480 new cases of depression were identified, including 156 in men and 324 in women. Individuals who followed the Mediterranean diet most closely had a greater than 30 percent reduction in the risk of depression than those who had the lowest Mediterranean diet scores.

The diet makes sense for other reasons. But the mechanisms via which the diet improves metabolism can be expected to help brain function.

"The specific mechanisms by which a better adherence to the Mediterranean dietary pattern could help to prevent the occurrence of depression are not well known," the authors write. Components of the diet may improve blood vessel function, fight inflammation, reduce risk for heart disease and repair oxygen-related cell damage, all of which may decrease the chances of developing depression.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2009 October 12 12:00 AM  Aging Diet Brain Studies

Darryl McCullough said at October 12, 2009 6:36 AM:

Very impressive results, especially when you consider that
the Mediterranean diet is still a rather unhealthy one---
better than the standard American diet, but still to high
in animal protein, and containing dairy and isolated plant
oil. I hope there will come a day when these studies can
be conducted on populations eating a truly health-promoting

Eileen said at October 12, 2009 2:16 PM:

"The researchers studied 10,094 healthy Spanish participants...."

Mediterranean diet cuts depression ... in Mediterraneans! Who woulda guessed?!

Not that I don't eat (or enjoy) Mediterranean dishes, but I'll be waiting to change my diet over completely until they do some research on how the Med diet affects depression levels in, say, Germanic peoples or (in my own case) Irish people. Until then, I'll be sticking to my dairy products, beef from grass-fed cattle, and salmon (food that Irish people have been eating for 5000+ years -- you'd think we'd be adapted to it by now!).

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