Ground-breaking Research Reveals Healthy Diet Works for Depression

By Sharon Moore on March 08, 2017

Yes, you are what you eat. According to a ground-breaking study, people with depression can improve their condition by following a healthy diet.

The pioneering research, carried out by Dr Felice Jacka from Deakin University in Australia, proves that healthy food is a powerful antidepressant.

The Study

In a randomised trial, the researchers recruited 67 men and women with moderate to severe depression who reported eating a relatively unhealthy diet. Most were taking antidepressants and/or were in regular psychotherapy. Half of the participants were asked to follow a modified Mediterranean (ModiMed) diet and were required to attend dietary support sessions with a nutritionist. The other half continued eating their usual unhealthy diet, but were required to attend social support “befriending” sessions.

The study carried on for 12 weeks. Before and after the trial, the participants’ depression symptoms were graded using several different tests. The test this research group chose to focus on was the MADRS scale (Montgomery–Åsberg Depression Rating Scale), which rates mood on a scale of 0 to 60, with 60 being the most severely depressed.

The healthy diet group weren’t given restrictions as to their calorie intake.

At the end of the trial, those in the modified Mediterranean diet group saw their MADRS scores improve on average by about 11 points. What’s more interesting is that thirty-two per cent (10 out of 31 completers) had MADRS scores so low that they no longer met criteria for depression.

Even better, the ModiMed diet cost about 19% less than the standard unhealthy diet.

Meanwhile, those who continued with their usual diet but attended ‘befriending’ sessions improved their MADRS scores by only about 4 points, and only 8% (2 of 25 completers) achieved remission.

So what’s the ModiMed diet comprised of?

It is 37% carbohydrate, 40% fats, 18% protein, 3% fibre, and 2% alcohol (preferable red wine). Foods that are encouraged are whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, low-fat/ unsweetened dairy, raw unsalted nuts, lean red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, and olive oil. Unhealthy foods like sweets, refined cereals, fried food, fast food, and processed meat are discouraged. As to beverages, there’s a maximum of two sugar-sweetened beverages per week and maximum two alcoholic drinks per day, preferably red wine.

Source of this article:

World’s First Clinical Trial Finds Diet Works for Depression

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