According to a study, young men suffering from depression who had a bad diet experienced a substantial improvement in their depression symptoms when they changed to a healthy Mediterranean diet. The 12-week randomized clinical trial evaluated what impact a Mediterranean diet had on depression symptoms in young men between the ages of 18 and 25.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
The researchers were surprised by how agreeable the individuals were to accepting a new diet. The individuals allocated to the Mediterranean diet made significant changes to their original diets over a short time frame with a nutritionist’s guidance.
The study results suggest that psychologists and physicians should consider referring depressed individuals to a dietitian or nutritionist as an important aspect of clinical depression treatment.
The results add to the emerging field of nutritional psychiatry that explores the impact that specific dietary patterns, foods, and nutrients can have on mental health. The study made use of a diet that was rich in oily fish, whole grains, raw unsalted nuts, olive oil, colorful veggies, and legumes.
The main focus was on reducing the consumption of ‘fast’ foods, processed red meat, and sugar while increasing the quality of diet with fresh whole foods.
There are many scientific reasons why it’s believed that food affects mood. For instance, approximately 90% of the feel-good chemical serotonin is produced in the gut by gut microbes. There’s growing evidence that these microbes can communicate with the brain via the vagus nerve, in what is known as the gut-brain axis. Beneficial microbes need to be fed fiber, which is found in veggies, fruits, and legumes.
Approximately 30% of depressed individuals don’t respond adequately to standard major depressive disorder treatments which include anti-depressant medications and cognitive behavior therapy.
Almost all the individuals remained with the program, and many were eager to carry on the diet once the study finished, which indicates how worthwhile, tolerable, and effective they found the intervention.