Connection between Mediterranean diet and mental health among Black Americans

American researchers recently published an article in The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences in which they found a connection between eating a Mediterranean diet and decreasing the risk of cognitive decline.

The researchers followed over 2300 American adults over an 8-year period, over a third of which were black. Among the black participants, the researchers discovered that those who adhered more closely to the Mediterranean diet had a lower decline rate in cognitive decline. Interestingly enough, these results didn’t seem to appear among the white population.

The researchers criticized past studies connecting mental health and the Mediterranean diet for lacking ethnic diversity in their study populations. They also caution that further studies must support these findings before we can make definitive race-based conclusions.

So what is the Mediterranean diet? A diet high in fruits, nuts, vegetables, legumes, cereals, olive oil, and fish consumption; low in meat and dairy consumption; and moderate in alcohol consumption.

The idea that the Mediterranean diet affects mental health isn’t new. In fact, last year, we discussed the results of an Italian study that looked at this connections.

Regardless, this is great news and is one more study confirming the connections to good nutrition and good mental health, something we’ve known for nearly 20 years.