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Changing Diet May Help Reduce Symptoms of Depression

Depression is often caused by a combination of physical and psychological factors. A recent study suggests that changing one physical factor — diet — may help reduce depressive symptoms.


Participants in the study included 56 people, all of whom were diagnosed with depression. 31 of them followed a dietary intervention and 25 of acted as a control group. The dietary intervention group had sessions with a clinical dietician, who provided information and assistance on eating an improved diet. The dietician recommended they eat more vegetables, fruits, legumes, fish, lean red meats, olive oil, and nuts — similar to the Mediterranean diet. The control group had social support sessions.


At the conclusion of the 12 week trial period, one third of the dietary intervention group met the standards for depression remission. In comparison, only 8% of the control group was in remission at that time.


Researchers from Deakin University and University of Melbourne led the study. It was published on January 30, 2017, in BMC Medicine.


Previous research has shown that the Mediterranean diet and other similar diets may improve heart health, lower the risk of diabetes, asthma, lower rates of obesity and possibly even decrease the overall risk of mortality.

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