Adhering to a healthy diet, particularly a traditional Mediterranean diet may provide protection against depression, reports a study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
Scientists at UCL found that consuming plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, plant-based food, and fish may decrease the risk of developing the condition by around a 33 percent.
“There is compelling evidence to show that there is a relationship between the quality of your diet and your mental health. This relationship goes beyond the effect of diet on your body size or other aspects of health that can, in turn, affect your mood,” said Dr. Camille Lassale the lead author of the study.
“This relationship goes beyond the effect of diet on your body size or other aspects of health that can, in turn, affect your mood,” said Dr. Lassale.
Camille Lassale and associates conducted a systematic review to synthesize the link between diet quality, measured using a range of predefined indices, and depressive outcomes. The investigators extracted data from Medline, Embase, and PsychInfo that examined adherence to a healthy diet in relation to depressive symptoms or clinical depression. A total of 20 longitudinal and 21 cross-sectional studies were included.
The researchers analyzed data from 41 studies, including four that examined the link between a traditional Mediterranean diet and mental health among 36,556 adults.
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The study found that “pro-inflammatory” diet, with high amounts of saturated fat, sugar, and processed food, was associated with a higher risk of depression. People who most closely adhered to a Mediterranean diet had a 33 percent lower risk of developing depression over the next eight to 12 years, they found, compared with those whose diet least resembled it.
There is also emerging evidence that shows that the relationship between the gut and brain plays a key role in mental health and that this axis is modulated by gastrointestinal bacteria, which can be modified by our diet,” said Dr. Lassale.
“Our study findings support routine dietary counseling as part of a doctor’s office visit, especially with mental health practitioners. This is of importance at a patient’s level, but also at public health level, especially in a context where poor diet is now recognized to be the leading cause of early death across middle- and high-income countries and at the same time mental disorders as the leading cause of disability,” said co-author Tasnime Akbaraly.
For reference log on to https://www.nature.com/articles/s41380-018-0237-8
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