3 mental health areas where the Mediterranean diet shines

Did you know that if you follow a Mediterranean diet, you could improve your mental health?

What is the Mediterranean diet?

It’s not a specific diet, per se, but it’s based on what people eat when they live in the region along the northern shore of the Mediterranean sea, particularly Spain, Italy, and Greece.

A Mediterranean diet includes the following foods:

  • High consumption of:
    • Olive oil
    • Legumes
    • Whole grain
    • Fresh fruits
    • Fresh vegetables
  • Moderate to high consumption of:
    • Fish
  • Moderate consumption of:
    • Dairy products (Specifically cheese and yogurt)
    • Wine consumption
  • Low consumption of:
    • Non-fish meat products

Mediterranean diet’s effect on mental health

Several studies have shown a connection between positive mental health and the Mediterranean diet. Those who follow it seem to have positive mental health. Those who follow a Western diet of refined foods and few fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, seem to have negative mental health

Here are some specific studies exploring mental health and the Mediterranean diet:

ADHD

Spanish researchers studied 120 children and teenagers. They measured dietary intake, adherence to a Mediterranean diet, and familial background. Then they used logistic regression to determine any association between ADHD and adherence to a Mediterranean diet.

They discovered that the less participants adhered to a Mediterranean diet, the more likely they were to be diagnosed with ADHD.

Cognitive decline

Italian researchers tested over 5600 Italians over the age of 65 and  found that a traditional Mediterranean diet “appears to protect against [age-related cognitive decline] and cognitive decline of vascular or degenerative origin.”

Depression

Researchers in Italy and the UK studied nearly 4,500 participants in North America and discovered that participants who more strictly followed a Mediterranean diet had a higher quality of life, less pain, lower disability, and lower depression.

What can we learn from this?

Well, if nothing else, these studies join an ever-increasing body of research showing a connection between what we eat and how we feel.

It’s why Truehope is committed to natural, nutrient-based solutions to mental health.

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