Eating a Mediterranean-style diet may protect against symptoms of depression in older age, according to new research from Hellenic Open University in Greece.
Researchers looked at data from 154 older adults in Athens, screening the participants for depression and sleep disturbances and assessing their adherence to a Mediterranean diet. Roughly 75% of the subjects screened negative for depression symptoms, 21% screened positive for moderate depression and 3% screened positive for severe depression. Approximately 30% were found to have sleep problems and about 64% adhered moderately to a Mediterranean diet.
A link was found between depression diagnosed by a physician and not sticking to a Mediterranean style of eating.
Depression was 20% less common in those eating more vegetables, 36% less common in those eating less poultry, and 28% less likely in people drinking less alcohol.
“Although we should be cautious about the study findings, they represent another potential reason to adopt a Mediterranean diet,” says study author Konstantinos Argyropoulos, MD, PhD. Following a healthy lifestyle, which includes not only a Mediterranean-style diet, but also plenty of physical activity and drinking alcohol only in moderation, is linked to a reduction in depression.”
Want to learn more about the Mediterranean diet? Read “Five Reasons to Try the Mediterranean Diet” and “Mediterranean Madness: FAQs About a Centuries-Old ‘Diet,'” then watch “What Is the Mediterranean Diet” for five tips on adopting this style of eating.