We all know that eating “healthy” has many long-term benefits. It can help us to reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancers, among the countless other benefits. Now research is showing an association with certain diets and reduced rates of depression.

A cohort study took baseline diet assessments and followed participants for 10 years with a food frequency questionnaire to show relative adherence to different categories of diets. When looking at a “Mediterranean diet” it consisted of vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, cereals, fish, seafood, meat, dairy products and moderate alcohol intake along with monosaturated fatty acids. Other diets that were examined were a pro-vegetarian diet and the “alternative health eating index 2010.” Even “moderate” adherence to the Mediterranean diet was enough to show significant reduction in depression when compared to minimal adherence. Furthermore, it was previously thought that the “higher” adherence participants would see more effect, showing what they refer to as a linear effect. However this was not the case, it seemed to plateau at moderate adherence. What does this all mean? It means even if you are only maintaining adherence to this diet most of the time, it still shows an association with reducing rates of depression. It is not that you need to stick to the diet one hundred percent of the time to get the benefits making this a valuable finding as we all know how hard it is to stick to a diet one hundred percent.

Bottom line: Eat Healthy & Be Happy!

Almudena Sánchez-Villegas, Patricia Henríquez-Sánchez, Miguel Ruiz-Canela, Francisca Lahortiga, Patricio Molero, Estefanía Toledo, Miguel A. Martínez-González. A longitudinal analysis of diet quality scores and the risk of incident depression in the SUN Project. BMC Medicine, 2015; 13 (1) DOI: 10.1186/s12916-015-0428-y

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