A 2009 report printed in the Archives of General Psychiatry stated that those who follow a Mediterranean diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and fish are less likely to experience depression. The results of the report were derived from a study conducted on 10,094 healthy Spanish participants who reported their dietary intake for a period of time between 1999 and 2005 while being studied and observed by researchers at two universities in Spain.
Researchers calculated how closely participants adhered to the Mediterranean diet based upon nine different components. These components included the ration of monounsaturated fats to unsaturated fats, moderate consumption of dairy products or alcohol and low meat intake, but with a high consumption rate of legumes, nuts and fruit, whole grain cereal, fish and vegetables.
Upon reaching the midpoint of 4.4 years a follow-up was conducted. It was discovered that those participants who most closely followed the Mediterranean diet experienced a 30 percent reduction in suffering from depression as compared to other study participants who received low diet scores for not adhering closely to the Mediterranean diet. Other markers of a healthy lifestyle, such as use of seatbelt or marital happiness, did not change as a result of the association.
The authors of the study reported that while the specifics of how a close adherence to Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of depression were not known, it is also known that sticking closely to a Mediterranean diet can improve the function of the blood vessels, help fight inflammation, repair oxygen-related damaged cells and decrease the risk of heart disease. All of these issues combined can work to decrease the risk of depression, especially when associated with the experience of adverse health issues.
Additionally, the authors of the study reported that it’s not so much a diet that that makes the difference but the close adherence to the different components within the Mediterranean diet that can produce these health benefits. The combined effects of the body receiving sufficient amounts of omega-3 fatty acids along with antioxidant-rich olive oil and nuts, natural forms of unsaturated fatty acids, phytochemicals from plant foods, flavonoids, B vitamins and other natural folates is what produces the beneficial effects.
Combined with the increase in heart health, damaged cell repair and blood vessel function improvement, the eating pattern of the Mediterranean diet can provide a great deal of protection against the risk of depression.
It is a guest document by E. F.. He is a weight loss specialist and creator. He writes about the Mediterranean diet at Mediterraneanbook.com. If you want Enrico to share with you his discoveries on best heart healthy diet along with you, follow him on Twitter.
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