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The Mediterranean Diet May Affect Your Emotions, Depression

More than a few of you may take a closer look at the Mediterranean diet -- a heart-healthy eating plan combined with Mediterranean-style cooking -- after reviewing this latest study about its beneficial effect on mental health.

Initially, researchers reviewed responses to health questionnaires completed by more than 10,000 Spanish patients from 1999-2005 about their food intake, paying close attention to how they followed nine components of the traditional Mediterranean diet (high intakes of fruits, nuts, legumes, vegetables and fish, higher ratios of monounsaturated fatty acids versus saturated fats, lower consumption of meat and a moderate of intake of dairy products and alcohol).

Almost 4.5 years later, scientists discovered some 160 cases of depression in men and nearly twice as many among women. Interestingly, patients who followed the Mediterranean diet reduced their risk of depression by more than 30 percent in comparison to those who didn't.

The difference between patients who avoided depression and others who suffered from it, says the senior author of the study, may lie in the quality of fats they consumed. Those who didn't follow a Mediterranean diet closely -- with its higher ratios of monounsaturated fatty acids versus saturated fats -- may likely be deficient in essential nutrients.

Archives of General Psychiatry, Vol. 66, No. 10, pp. 1090-1098, October 2009

New York Times October 8, 2009

ScienceDaily October 6, 2009

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