Iranian researchers recently published a study in the Mediterranean Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, showing a connection between the Mediterranean diet and depression in teen girls.
The researchers followed the dietary habits and mental health scores of nearly 300 girls in Tehran, Iran. They split the participants into 5 groups based on how closely they followed the Mediterranean diet.
What is the Mediterranean diet?
A 2003 study defined the traditional Mediterranean diet as follows:
- High intake of vegetables, legumes, fruits and nuts, and cereals
- High intake of olive oil
- Low intake of saturated fats
- Moderately high intake of fish (depending on sea proximity)
- Low-to-moderate intake of dairy products (mostly in the form of cheese or yogurt)
- Low intake of meat and poultry
- Regular but moderate intake of ethanol (primarily wine and generally during meals)
What did the researchers discover?
Well, the researchers found that the group that most closely followed the Mediterranean diet had a nearly 60% lower prevalence of depression compared to those who followed the Mediterranean diet the least.
This study joins a growing body of research showing a strong connection between nutrition and mental health. Here at Truehope, we’ve been promoting nutrition as mental health treatment for over 20 years.