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.

Key points:

  • The diet improved the mood of about a third of participants
  • Researchers say it highlights the need for better diet support for patients
  • But they warn the diet should not replace traditional treatments

Researchers at Deakin University have found the diet can help those suffering from severe depression.

They put dozens of patients with major depressive disorders on a Mediterranean-style diet rich in wholegrains, legumes, fresh fruit and vegetables, olive oil and nuts.

After 12 weeks of healthy eating, researchers said one third of the participants reported a significant improvement in their mood and symptoms.

The results of the study were recently published in the international journal BMC Medicine.

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.

–   Sophie Scott and Rebecca Armitage

Read more: Mediterranean Diet Can Help in Fight Against Depression

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