Mediterranean-Style Diet Improves Symptoms of Depression In College Students

Spaghetti squash “spaghetti”

Study participants at the outset were judged to have a poor diet as compared to the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. Here’s the intervention diet:

The diet was developed by an Accredited Practising Dietician and was based on the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating (2003) [18], with additional recommendations to increase concordance with Mediterranean-style diets known to be associated with reduced risk of depression (2) and diet components (e.g. omega-3 fatty acids, cinnamon, turmeric) that have beneficial effects on neurological function (e.g. see [19] for a review). Participants were instructed to increase intake of vegetables (5 servings per day), fruits (2–3 per day), wholegrain cereals (3 per day), protein (lean meat, poultry, eggs, tofu, legumes; 3 per day), unsweetened dairy (3 per day), fish (3 per week), nuts and seeds (3 tablespoons per day), olive oil (2 tablespoons per day), spices (turmeric and cinnamon; 1 teaspoon most days). Conversely, they were instructed to decrease refined carbohydrate, sugar, fatty or processed meats and soft-drinks. Participants were provided a sample meal plan and recipes, a handout answering frequently asked questions and troubleshooting solutions.

Source: A brief diet intervention can reduce symptoms of depression in young adults – A randomised controlled trial

Click for New York Times coverage of the study.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

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