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Study: Mediterranean diet improves male depression

Observational studies linked eating an abundant Mediterranean diet to vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, nuts and olive oil, which linked it to a lower risk of depression.    A study published online this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that improving diet quality significantly alleviates depressive symptoms in young people.    The latest experiment investigated whether a median diet would improve the mood and quality of life of males aged 18 to 25 with moderate to severe depression.



Observational studies linked eating an abundant Mediterranean diet to vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, nuts and olive oil, which linked it to a lower risk of depression.


  • A study published online this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that improving diet quality significantly alleviates depressive symptoms in young people.
  • The latest experiment investigated whether a median diet would improve the mood and quality of life of males aged 18 to 25 with moderate to severe depression.
  • According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
  • young people aged 15 to 24 are more likely to develop mental illness than any other age group.


In the 12-week experiment, researchers allocated 72 participants to either a Mediterranean diet or a friendship therapy (control group). The researcher's friendship relationship involves talking to the participant about neutral topics of interest such as hobbies, sports and movies.


Participants in the Mediterranean Diet Group received three 60-minute nutritionist consultation sessions throughout the study. These tips provided personal diet, goal setting and conscious eating strategies to support adherence to the Mediterranean diet.


Diet quality, depressive symptoms and quality of life were assessed in both groups at the beginning of the study, halfway through 12 weeks. Participants were not asked to stop taking depressive medication or psychotherapy appointments for moral reasons.


  1. For the Mediterranean diet, participants were advised to eat daily rations of whole grains (5 to 8)
  2. vegetables and fruits a serving of pulses (such as beans and lentils)
  3. and nuts would have been included once a day, fish twice a week and extra virgin olive oil daily.


As dairy products, eggs and chicken were included in the diet, red meat was to be consumed no more than once a week, and consumption of sweets, fried foods, processed meat and sugary beverages was limited to three servings a week.


Participants were provided with a daily online food diary as well as information on meal sizes, meal plan forms, recipes, takeout options and budget dining tips.


  1. Compared to those in the group of friends
  2. participants who followed the Mediterranean diet have achieved significant improvements in diet quality and depression
  3. with 35 per cent reporting low depression symptoms to a minimum after 12 weeks
  4. increased concentration, sleep and energy were also reported in the Mediterranean diet group.


The low dropout rate in the Mediterranean diet group indicates that by providing nutritional advice, a change in diet is very possible for young males with clinical depression.


The results add to growing evidence that improving the diet by eating more whole fresh foods while reducing the intake of fast foods, added sugars and processed meat plays a role in the treatment of depression.


How a healthy diet can relieve depression


Whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and pulses provide nutrients and plant chemicals that reduce inflammation in the body, and inflammatory immune cells are thought to communicate with the brain, affecting mood and energy levels.


Prebiotic fibers, found in some whole grains, vegetables, fruits, pulses and fermented dairy products, feed the "good" gut bacteria, helping to maintain a healthy gut microbiome, and gut microbes make most serotonin in the brain, a brain chemical that regulates mood.


In addition, omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish are important for maintaining healthy brain cell membranes.


Consuming very little of these fat may change how brain cells respond to chemicals that affect mood.