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Association of the Mediterranean Dietary Pattern With the Incidence of Depression

As presented in the Archives of General Psychiatry, 2009 Authors: Almudena Sánchez-Villegas, BPharm, PhD; Miguel Delgado-Rodríguez, MD, PhD, MPH; Alvaro Alonso, MD, PhD; Javier Schlatter, MD, PhD; Francisca Lahortiga, BA, PhD; Lluis Serra Majem, MD, PhD; Miguel Angel Martínez-González, MD, PhD, MPH

Adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet is associated with lower risk for developing depression, reports Archives of General Psychiatry.

Some 10,000 young adults in Spain completed food-frequency questionnaires to assess how well they followed a Mediterranean dietary pattern (i.e., high in fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, cereal, and legumes; low in meat and whole-fat dairy; moderate alcohol intake; and high ratio of monounsaturated-to-saturated fatty acids).

After a median 4 years' follow-up, people in the top three quintiles of diet adherence had lower hazard ratios for incident self-reported depression than those in the lowest quintile. High consumption of fruits and nuts, legumes, and fish were each separately associated with lower depression risk.

The authors speculate that the observed effect may be explained by the diet's beneficial impact on endothelial function, which may, in turn, improve production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor — reported to be reduced in depression.

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