Mediterranean diet connected to lower depression risk

In March 2019, researchers in Canada and Iran published a study in the Qom University of Medical Sciences Journal, showing a connection between what we eat and our mental health.

The researchers conducted their cross-sectional study on nearly 3,200 adults between the ages of 18 and 55. They analyzed the diets of these participants and compared them to their anxiety, depression, and psychological distress levels.

What did the researchers find?

What they discovered was that the participants who most closely followed a Mediterranean diet had a lower risk of anxiety, depression, and psychological distress, when compared to those who followed the Mediterranean diet the least.

In addition, they found that a higher intake of fruits and vegetables, generally, was also connected to lower risk of anxiety, depression, and psychological distress.

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)

This is one more study among a growing body of research showing a connection between what we eat and our mental health. Here at Truehope, we’ve been promoting nutrition as mental health treatment for over 20 years.