A new study found that young men with a poor diet exhibited major improvement in their depression symptoms when they turned to a healthy Mediterranean diet
Many studies for past few years are exploring effects of diet on mental health and these studies continued to show how sustained unhealthy eating habits can be harmful for mental wellbeing. Now a group of researchers from University of Technology Sydney found that switching to a healthy Mediterranean diet can significantly reduce symptoms of depression in young men with a poor diet.
In this new study, the researchers focused on mental health in young men, as depression is known to be the most common type of mental health disease and is a substantial suicide risk factor in this demographic. In this study, the researchers recruited 72 subjects aging between 18 and 25 years and suffering from moderate to severe depression with poor diet. The researchers assigned these subjects randomly to a group that is shifting to a Mediterranean diet or a group that is taking social support through befriending therapy, as a control group. The researchers assessed the subjects in the beginning, midway and end of the trial that lasted 12 weeks with a self-reporting scales of depression and life quality. As results, the researchers found that the Mediterranean diet group had significantly high score on both scales compared to the control group.
Furthermore, the results of this study indicated that changing the diet can affect mental wellbeing of individuals. These findings add more weight to the hypothesis that suggest healthier eating habits impact symptoms of depression favorably. Among all the benefits of dietary change as depression treatment, one is the potential among patients for higher adherence. As tradition methods of treating depression such as anti-depressant medicines or cognitive behavioral therapy are not very effective, this new nutritional psychiatry concept could become a possible alternative.