Mediterranean Diet Fights Depression

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A walking for weight loss program and a healthy diet has many benefits but now we are told it also helps fight depression.

A study of 11000 people in Spain has found that a Mediterranean diet of fresh fruit and vegetables, legumes, lean meat and oily fish results in people being less likely to become depressed. It seems that those on the diet were 30 percent less likely to suffer depression than those whose diet had less of the elements of the Mediterranean diet.

Researchers do not really know the cause of these results. They suggest that the diet may improve blood vessel function, fight inflammation and repair oxygen-related cell damage. This could reduce the chances of developing depression. That, slightly incomprehensible, explanation sounds a lot like guessing to me. I wonder if they have considered that people living in a Mediterranean climate could well start off more cheerful than those living in some rain sodden Northern country. Although the comparison is within a group I would like to see it repeated in the UK or North America, it is not impossible that the results would be quite different when comparing those on a Mediterranean diet and those not.

Anyway whether a Mediterranean diet will help depression in your case or not it is still good for you. There is a mountain of research which tells you so, some going back 50 years. The first study involved the people of Crete at the end of the 1940s. Even after the trauma and deprivation of a world war the cardiovascular health of these people exceeded that of North Americans. This was considered to be due to differences in diet. Although depression did not feature in the research at that time it did conclude that there was a significant improvement in health. There was a 9 percent reduction in overall mortality for all people having a Mediterranean diet compared with those eating a more usual Western diet.

In a later study researchers looked at people aged 70 to 90 for more than a decade, and found those who adhered to a healthy low-fat Mediterranean-style diet lowered their risk of death by 23 percent. People who drank alcohol moderately lowered their risk by 22 percent. Physical activity lowered the risk by 37 percent. Non-smoking lowered the death risk by 22 percent. And people who had all four of these healthy lifestyle factors lowered their risk of death from any cause by 65 percent.

So diet can work wonders and as more and more research comes to light we are proving how effective the Mediterranean diet can be.

But don't forget that walking or some other form of exercise is important as part of a fitness program. However healthy your diet is if you don't exercise you will get fat and lose the benefits of the diet. So don't forget the two elements, a walking for weight loss program, a Mediterranean diet and you will be fit and well.

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