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Mediterranean diet can help with depression
A Mediterranean diet or style can help or even prevent depression. In contrast, a diet style that is rich in saturated fat, sugar and processed foods is more likely to cause depression. These are the results of an international team of researchers led by University College London (UCL).
Those who eat a lot of fast food and sweets are more likely to develop depression. In contrast, the consumption of fruit, vegetables, nuts, plant foods and fish, as is the case with the Mediterranean diet, for example, can protect against depression or help against psychological suffering. Researchers led by Dr. Camille Lassale. The study was recently published in the journal "Molecular Psychiatry".
Fast food promotes depression
As the researchers report, a high-fat and high-sugar diet, which is characterized by many fast food and ready meals, is associated with an increased likelihood of depression. Conversely, fruits, vegetables, vegetable products, and fish can help prevent or mitigate them. "There is convincing evidence that there is a connection between nutritional quality and mental health," explains lead author Dr. Camille Lassale from the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at UCL.
You are what you eat
According to the scientists, the effects of diet go beyond the influence on body size and physical health. Diet can also have a massive impact on the general mood. "We have summarized the results from a large number of studies and we could see a clear pattern," reports the expert. A healthy, plant-rich and anti-inflammatory diet can help prevent depression.
Data from 41 studies analyzed
The researchers analyzed data from 41 studies, including four that examined the direct connection between a traditional Mediterranean diet and mental health in around 36,500 people. The results found that people who followed a Mediterranean diet had a 33 percent lower risk of developing depression within the next eight to twelve years compared to those who were more unhealthy.
Anti-inflammatory foods protect against depression
Five of the studies examined looked at the effects of inflammatory foods on mental health. In total, data from around 33,000 participants were evaluated. The analysis showed that a diet low in saturated fat, sugar and processed foods reduced the risk of developing depression by a quarter. "An inflammatory diet can trigger systemic inflammation, and this can directly increase the risk of depression," summarizes Dr. Camille Lassale.
Diet as therapy for depression
"There are now strong arguments for using nutrition as part of treatment for mental illness," added co-author Tasnime Akbaraly. In her opinion, nutritional counseling should be introduced as a routine supplement to depression therapy. This is important both at the patient level and at the level of the public health system.
Poor nutrition as an increasing health problem
"Poor nutrition is now the main cause of premature death in middle and high income countries," said Akbaraly. At the same time, mental disorders are the main cause of disabilities. According to the researchers' conclusion, better education about the consequences of unhealthy eating can not only serve general physical health, but also mental health. (vb)