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Depression: say NO Junk-Food - YES to Med Diet

MedDiet depression2018Eating junk food increases the risk of becoming depressed, a study has found, prompting calls for doctors to routinely give dietary advice to patients as part of their treatment for depression.

In contrast, those who follow a traditional Mediterranean Diet are much less likely (33 % lower risk) to develop depression because the fish, fruit, nuts and vegetables that diet involves help protect against Britain’s commonest mental health problem, the research suggests.

Published in the journal «Molecular Psychiatry», the findings have come from an analysis by researchers from Britain, Spain and Australia who examined 41 previous studies on the links between diet and depression.  

The analysis found that foods containing a lot of fat or sugar, or was processed, lead to inflammation of not just the gut but the whole body, known as “systemic inflammation”. In that respect the impact of poor diet is like that of smoking, pollution, obesity and lack of exercise.
“Chronic inflammation can affect mental health by transporting pro-inflammatory molecules into the brain, it can also affect the molecules – neurotransmitters – responsible for mood regulation,” said Lassale, who is based at the department of epidemiology and public health at University College London.

Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, the chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “This large-scale study provides further supportive evidence that eating a healthy diet can improve our mood and help give us more energy. It adds to the growing body of research which shows that what we eat may have an impact on our mental health.

As Elena Paravantes, in her "OliveTomato", suggets the foods that "have been shown to reduce the risk of inflammation - the plant sourced foods are rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, while the omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish also fight inflammation" (see for serving suggestions): 

1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
2. Spinach and Greens
3. Sardines
4. Oranges
5. Walnuts
6. Tomatoes
7. Cauliflower
8. Lentils
9. Garlic
10. Oregano

Naveed Sattar, professor of metabolic medicine at the University of Glasgow, wants to see more data before claiming outright that such diets improve mental health. However, the day may not be that far off when medical health professionals find room for dietary counselling alongside established forms of treatment for patients who are at risk of depression.

Read the full article in the Guardian.

* Previous extensive study in Spain during 2015: in English
Ελληνικά (GR)English (UK)