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Cut down risk of depression with Mediterranean diet

10 October 2009 / 10:10:57  GRReporter
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Spanish researchers have found out that, besides the already known qualities of preventing cancer, heart diseases, asthma and diabetes, Mediterranean diet may also keep us away from depression.  

The research indicates that the probability to experience depression decreases with 30 per cent if we include in our diet more fruits, vegetables and legumes, and eat less red meat.  The research, which lasted for four years, was conducted in the universities of Las Palmas and Navarra, among 10 000 people. Married men who are former smokers were excluded from the sample, considered by scientists to be under greater risk to suffer from depression.

The results were published by the American periodical Archives of General Psychiatry and later announced in BBC and Reuters. Researches discovered that close followers of the Mediterranean diet had a reduction of more than 30% in the risk of depression. The diet includes large quantities of olive oil, moderate intake of alcohol and dairy, low intake of red meat and high intake of fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, cereals and fish.

According to some researchers, intake of large quantities of olive oil increases serotonin levels in the brain, creating a sense of soul- and mental- health. After all, most antidepressants aim at raising serotonin levels. The Mediterranean diet improves the function of blood vessels and circulation of blood, and fights inflammation- all being factors which lead to depressive conditions.

The results need to be supported by further research, since Spanish scientists cannot yet identify the mechanism through which our mood is impacted by the Mediterranean diet.

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