Mediterranean Diet: Depression Prevention

A massive study has shown that by following a Mediterranean diet depression is much less likely to strike.

In fact, you are up to 33% less likely to get depression if you follow the diet.

Mediterranean diet depression study

The study was something called a “meta-analysis” which is a study that reviews a number of earlier studies and draws conclusions. The thinking is that by collecting studies together the amount of data available increases so any trends identified are more likely to be real.

This study involved looking at 41 other studies that had examined the effect of the Mediterranean diet on depression and anxiety carried out over the last 8 years. 

Including over 1.5 million people, it is one of the biggest of its kind so the results are well worth paying attention to. 

After analysing all the data, the researchers found that in people who followed a Mediterranean diet depression was 33% less likely. That is a massive reduction.


Why is it so effective at combating depression? Well, we have already seen that extra virgin olive oil is very good at reducing depression risk. The Mediterranean diet also causes weight loss without trying and being overweight is linked to depression.

Having said that, experts believe that the benefits of a Mediterranean diet are not due to just one thing. For example, Dr Walter Willet of Harvard states that:

No one part is most important, they’re all important. It’s the combination of all the parts that matters.

Speak to your doctor

Of course, if you think you may be suffering from depression or at risk of becoming depressed you should speak to your doctor. 

This study strongly suggests that a Mediterranean diet can be helpful but you should not try to treat yourself. Instead, view it as a very effective component of an overall treatment plan.

The study was published in the Journal of Molecular Psychiatry and is available here (Healthy dietary indices and risk of depressive outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. Mol Psychiatry. 2018 Sep 26).

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