The Mediterranean diet is well known for its physical health benefits and it is now being hailed as the latest weapon in tackling mental health problems.
Researchers at Deakin University have found the diet can help those suffering from severe depression.
Professor Felice Jacka, director of Deakin University’s Food and Mood Centre, said the Mediterranean diet had been credited with improving cardiovascular health, reducing the risk of diabetes and increasing longevity.
“We already know that diet has a very potent impact on the biological aspects of our body that affect depression risks,” she said.
“The immune system, brain plasticity, and gut microbiota seem to be central not just to our physical health, but also our mental health.
“And diet, of course, is the main factor that affects the gut microbiota.”
Professor Jacka said people suffering from depression should not replace therapy and drug treatments with the Mediterranean diet.
“Most of the people in our study were receiving psychotherapy or pharmacology treatment. But it’s something that supports any other interventions designed to help depression,” she said.
Professor Jacka would like to see dietitian support made available to those experiencing depression.
– Sophie Scott and Rebecca Armitage
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