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Mediterranean Diet May Ward Off Depression

People diet for a number of different reasons; including better health, smaller waistline and improved self-image. For those who follow the Mediterranean diet, they are also likely to improve their overall disposition.

Science Daily posted a release that examined the impact this diet has on a person. Those who follow the diet rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains and fish, appear less likely to develop depression.

Overall, the lifetime prevalence of mental disorders has been shown to be lower in Mediterranean than Northern European countries. The diet appears to be a contributing factor to protect against depression. Previous studies suggest that the monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil may be associated with a lower risk of severe depressive symptoms.

A questionnaire was completed by 10,094 health Spanish participants and then examined by Almudena Sánchez-Villegas, B.Pharm., Ph.D., of University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Clinic of the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, and colleagues. Participants reported dietary intake and researchers calculated adherence to the Mediterranean diet.

Follow-up with these participants was done after 4.4 years and researchers identified 480 new cases of depression. Those who followed the Mediterranean diet most closely had a 30 percent reduction in the risk of depression than those with low diet scores.

“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 wrote.

“However, the role of the overall dietary pattern may be more important than the effect of single components. It is plausible that the synergistic combination of a sufficient provision of omega-three fatty acids together with other natural unsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants from olive oil and nuts, flavonoids and other phytochemicals from fruit and other plant foods and large amounts of natural folates and other B vitamins in the overall Mediterranean dietary pattern may exert a fair degree of protection against depression.”

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