Healthy Diet Reduces Depression Risk

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Following a more healthy diet may not only help people live long longer, it may also help ward off depression.

Almudena Sánchez-Villegas, PhD, of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain, and colleagues, examined more than 15,000 patient records from a chort study called the SUN Project that started in 1999 and has been used by researchers to determine lifestyle and dietary factors than can influence medical conditions. All the participants did not have depression at the start.

Dietary intake was assessed with via questionnaire at the start of the study and then 10 years later. Adherence to a certain diet was determined via a scoring system. Meats and candy were negatively scored, while nuts, legumes, fruits and vegetables were positively weighted.

After the follow-up period 1,550 participants said they had received either a depression diagnosis or had taken an antidepressant.

A diet known as the Alternative Healthy Eating Index-2010 was associated with the biggest reduction in depression risk, the researchers reported in the journal BMC Medicine. This diet includes a high amount of vegetables, fruits, whole-grain bread, nuts, legumes, omega-3s and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

"The protective role is ascribed to their nutritional properties, where nuts, legumes, fruits and vegetables (sources of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals) could reduce the risk of depression," Sánchez-Villegas said.


Healthy Diet Reduces Depression Risk
Diets rich in vegetables, fruits, whole-grain bread, nuts, legumes, and omega-3s are shown to lower depression risk.

A new study suggests that those who follow healthy dietary patterns that prominently feature fruit, vegetables, nuts and legumes may be at a reduced risk of depression.

The study, published in BMC Medicine, found that adherence to the Mediterranean diet, the Pro-vegetarian Dietary Pattern or Alternative Eating Index-2010 appeared to play a protective role against the illness.

While much research has been carried out assessing the role of diet in the prevention of noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer, far less attention has been paid to the influence of diet on the development of mental disorders.

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