Consuming a plant-based diet can reduce inflammation, which can in turn lower the risk for depression, according to researchers.
Mediterranean diet stresses eating only plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, and whole grains.
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Med diet replaces butter with healthy fats including canola and olive oil. It also uses herbs and spices in place of salt to flavor foods. Also, red meat is reduced to no more than a few times a month.
Now a novel study has concluded that a Mediterranean diet can help reduce risk for depression.
A diet low in sugar, processed foods, and saturated fat can reduce the risk of depression by 24 percent over a 12-year period, according to the research. The researchers did a meta-analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults, using an collection of dietary measures, including different measures of adherence to the Mediterranean diet, the Healthy Eating Index, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, and the Dietary Inflammatory Index.
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A lower inflammatory index was linked with lower depression incidence in four longitudinal studies.
The Mediterranean diet is also linked to a reduced incidence of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Women who consumed a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts may also have a reduced risk of breast cancer.
Dr. Camille Lassale, a research associate at the University College London, said; “A plant-rich, anti-inflammatory diet can help prevent depression.”
Researchers said people who most closely obeyed a Mediterranean diet had a 33 percent lower risk of developing depression over the next 8 to 12 years compared to people who are not on the diet.