Depression: good nutrition lowers risk by 33%

Diet affects the health of our brain. According to a study conducted by French researchers, junk food increases the risk of depression, while conversely the Mediterranean diet reduces it.

Well on his plate, better in his head! Here are the conclusions of a research conducted by researchers from Inserm and the University of Montpellier. The results, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, show that a healthy diet reduces the risk of suffering from depression.

The benefits of the Mediterranean diet

Scientists collected data from 36,556 adults about their diet and the onset of depressive disorders. They studied which eating habits favored better mental health. The Mediterranean diet is the best ally against depression, it reduces by 33% the risk of being affected. It is based on the consumption of large quantities of fruits and vegetables, olive oil, cereals and oily fish. Conversely, it consists of eating little red meat and drinking little alcohol.

Avoid chronic inflammation

The impact of our diet on the risk of depression is based on the level of inflammation. Diets that promote chronic inflammation, that is, all foods that are high in saturated fat, sugar, and so on, are associated with higher risks of depression. To protect one's mental health, one should avoid foods that are processed or too rich in sugar or saturated fatty acids.

The role of the gut microbiota

These first results are now to be confirmed by clinical trials, but this is not the first study to focus on the links between diet and depression. Other research suggests that these links are based on the gut microbiota. What we ingest can alter the microbiota and how it works, but it is itself linked to the brain. Depressive disorders may occur depending on the state of the microbiota. In France, depression affects one in five people in the world, more than 300 million people are affected.

Video: The surprisingly dramatic role of nutrition in mental health. Julia Rucklidge. TEDxChristchurch (April 2020).