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26th Sep 2018

Mediterranean Diet Linked To ‘Preventing Depression’ In New Study


A Mediterranean diet could help prevent depression, new research suggests.

The research, which was carried out by Dr Camille Lassale, from the department of epidemiology and public health at UCL, linked eating plenty of fruit, vegetables, nuts and fish to reducing the risk of developing the condition by a third.

Meanwhile a diet high in saturated fat, sugar and processed food was reported to have increased the likelihood of developing depression.

According to RTÉ News, Dr Camille Lassale said, “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.

“We aggregated results from a large number of studies and there is a clear pattern that following a healthier, plant-rich, anti-inflammatory diet can help in the prevention of depression.”

The study involved scrutinising data from 41 studies including four which looked at the link between a Mediterranean diet and over 36,000 adults.

The studies found that people who followed a Mediterranean diet had 33% less chance of developing the condition in the next eight to twelve years compared to those who followed a very different diet.

Five studies looked at the effect of a diet heavy in inflammatory foods on mental health in over 32,000 people.

It showed that a diet low in saturated fat, sugar and processed food had 24% less risk of developing depression over the next five to 12 years.

Dr Lassale said, “A pro-inflammatory diet can induce systemic inflammation and this can directly increase the risk for depression.

“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.”

The results mean that there are now “strong arguments” for diet to be considered as part of mental health treatment, the study’s co-author Tasnime Akbaraly said.

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