Mediterranean Diet – Can It Ward Off Depression?

delicious food and wine mediterranean dietThe health benefits of the Mediterranean diet are by now well recognized.

However, new research indicates that such a diet may do a lot more than simply looking after a person’s physical health.

Research has also shown that the Mediterranean diet can help people in relation to bouts of depression.


A 2015 study carried out at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and reported on the LiveScience website involved 15,000 university graduates over a 10 year period.

The risk of depression for people who adhered to the Mediterranean diet was some 30 percent lower than for those who didn’t adhere to the diet.

The study indicated that people can eat everything in moderation, as long as they include lots of vegetables, fruit, fish and nuts, and avoid processed meats and fast food.

This study showed that a healthy diet is able to prevent the onset of depression in many cases.

Reduction of Symptoms

A more recent study, carried out at Deakin University in Australia has resulted in the recognition that the Mediterranean diet can also help those already suffering from major depression.

The Australian Broadcasting Commission has reported that participants showed a significant improvement of their mood and depressive symptoms after 12 weeks of healthy eating.

Professor Felice Jacka, director of Deakin University’s Food and Mood Centre, said the Mediterranean diet had been credited with improving cardiovascular health, reducing the risk of diabetes and increasing longevity.

“We already know that diet has a very potent impact on the biological aspects of our body that affect depression risks,” she said.

“The immune system, brain plasticity, and gut microbiota seem to be central not just to our physical health, but also our mental health.

“And diet, of course, is the main factor that affects the gut microbiota.”

While it’s not thought that diet alone is able to cure depression, nevertheless enjoying a Mediterranean-style diet can certainly help the sufferer to handle it much better.

What is a Mediterranean Diet?

The diet that was developed for participants in the Deakin University study ate the following:

Per day: six servings of vegetables, five servings of wholegrains, three servings of fruit, two servings of unsweetened dairy, one serving of raw unsalted nuts, three tablespoons of olive oil

Per week: three servings of lean red meat, two servings of chicken, up to six eggs, and at least two servings of fish

Extras: no more than three servings per week of sweets, refined cereal, fried food, fast food and soft drink. No more than two glasses of wine per day, only with dinner

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