Mediterranean Diet & Depression

It has been well established fact that monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids help in lowering bad fat level. those have also antioxidant activity. So,those are protective to heart. Now the quoted article below shows that it may have antidepressant activity. It is interesting to read.

February 2, 2007
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Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes plentiful use of olive oil, fruits, and vegetables, and minimizes the consumption of red meat and dairy products, may help prevent depression.

  • But advise them that other factors, such as genetic and environmental influences, also may contribute to the risk of depression.
  • The Mediterranean diet, with its emphasis on consumption of olive oil, legumes, vegetables, and fruits, may help protect against major depression, a prospective Spanish study suggested.Studies have shown that the lifetime prevalence of psychiatric disorders is lower in Mediterranean countries than in countries of northern Europe, and it is “plausible” that diet may contribute, the researchers wrote in the October Archives of General Psychiatry.

    n discussing possible reasons for the beneficial influence of the Mediterranean diet on depression, the investigators highlighted the effects on endothelial function and the secretion of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, as well as reductions in low-grade systemic inflammation.Of particular interest were the monounsaturated fatty acids plentiful in olive oil, which may improve the binding of serotonin to its receptors, and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which also may facilitate serotonin transport by means of structural effects on neuronal membranes.

    B vitamins and folate from legumes, vegetables, and fruit and nuts also may contribute through effects on methionine and homocysteine metabolism.

    “However,” they wrote, “the role of the overall dietary pattern may be more important than the effect of single components” and the synergistic effects of unsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants, and other phytochemicals in the Mediterranean diet “may exert a fair degree of protection against depression.”

    Another possible explanation for their findings could be the influence of genetic or environmental factors, they wrote, and they acknowledged that the association between diet and depression may not be causal.

    They also noted that the study was limited by its observational nature and its use of self-reporting, and by the fact that their data did not address potential confounders such as family history of depression, so their findings must be confirmed by others.

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