Mediterranean Lifestyle Associated with Less Depression

The Mediterranean diet has been celebrated for its many physical health benefits, including weight loss, better heart health, and a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes. But that may not be the only thing “Mediterranean” that is worthy of praise. New research, published in Clinical Psychological Science, has found a reduced risk of depression in people following a Mediterranean lifestyle, which includes physical activity, socializing, and, of course, a diet typical of the Mediterranean region (which focuses on fish, healthy fats such as olive oil, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains). For the study, 11,800 Spanish university graduates answered food frequency questionnaires regarding their diet, and lifestyle questionnaires about how physically active they were and how much time, on average, they spent socializing with friends. Researchers then analyzed these three data points and rated the participants for their adherence to the Mediterranean lifestyle. After observing the participants for about eight and a half years, they found that:

  • People who had the highest adherence to the Mediterranean lifestyle had a 50% lower risk of developing depression compared with those who had the lowest adherence.

This research suggests that if you decide to go Mediterranean, go all the way and include the elements of Mediterranean culture—ample time for socializing with friends and exercising—that make it a well-rounded lifestyle.

Source: Clinical Psychological Science

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