The Mediterranean diet is already tied to plenty of health benefits, and new research indicates it could help fight depression.
With depression affecting more than 300 million people worldwide, researchers wanted to study the role of nutrition on the psychiatric disorder. Depression and anxiety disorders lead to $1 trillion in lost productivity worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
Research published in Molecular Psychiatry analyzed more than 40 previous studies and found those who followed a strict Mediterranean diet were 33 percent less likely to be diagnosed with depression.
“There is compelling evidence to show that there is a relationship between the quality of your diet and your mental health,” Camille Lassale, research associate at University College London’s department of epidemiology and public health told CNN. “This relationship goes beyond the effect of diet on your body size or other aspects of health that can in turn affect your mood.”
Staples of the Mediterranean diet include vegetables, fruits, beans, grains, nuts and olive oil. It can also contain some fish, white meat and dairy produce.
Health benefits of the diet can include weight loss and help prevent type 2 diabetes, heart attacks and strokes.
But some experts says this study isn’t enough, with more rigorous trials necessary.
“Whilst eating healthier is good for many reasons, we need more evidence before we can say plant-rich diets can improve mental health,” Naveed Sattar, a professor of metabolic medicine at the University of Glasgow, told the BBC.