Mediterranean diet beats the blues

Traditional sunshine diet can protect against depression, say researchers

A diet high in fruit, vegetables, olive oil, fish and grains could reduce depression, according to new research.

A Spanish survey has revealed that people who eat the traditional Mediterranean diet were 30 per cent less likely to develop depression. The diet has already been linked to reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.

The traditional Mediterranean diet features high intake of monounsaturated fats, mainly olive oil; lots of legumes, fruit and vegetables, grains and fish; and relatively low levels of dairy products, alcohol and red meat.

Researchers recruited Spanish graduates for the study and studied their eating habits for nearly five years. They found that those who ate a typical Mediterranean diet were 30 per cent less likely to be suffering from depression, reports the BBC.

The researchers also took into account other factors that may affect susceptibility to depression such as marital status, personality traits like competitiveness, and lifestyle, and found the relationship did not change.

“Thirty per cent is a large reduction in the risk and this could be very important considering the large burden of disease represented by depression,” said Professor Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez, of the University of Navarra. He said further research was needed.

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