While there are a number of causes of depression, a new study supports the fact that diet plays a role in battling the mental condition. A recent study published in Molecular Psychiatry found that people who followed a Mediterranean diet had low incidence rates of depression.
Researchers reviewed 41 studies conducted on depression, health, and nutrition during the past eight years. While no clinical trials have been done directly to test the link between food and mood disorders, this evidence shines a light on the idea that a diet rich in plant foods and those that fight inflammation are beneficial to mental health.
Lead researcher Dr. Camille Lassale stated:
“A pro-inflammatory diet can induce systemic inflammation, and this can directly increase the risk for depression. Chronic inflammation can affect mental health by transporting pro-inflammatory molecules into the brain, it can also affect the molecules – neurotransmitters – responsible for mood regulation.”
The Mediterranean diet has been touted for years as a healthful, nutritious option for those fighting high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. Generally, it consists of fresh fruits and vegetables, olive oil, fish, legumes, nuts, and whole grains. Dairy is limited – if eaten at all – and herbs and spices are favored over salt.
It is estimated that depression affects more than 300 million people worldwide, with a slightly higher percentage of women being affected than men. This study is promising in demonstrating that eating better can make a difference in how we feel mentally and emotionally.
Do you already follow the Mediterranean diet? What do you think of these findings? Would you be willing to switch up your eating habits if it would help your mood?