A new study has found that along with Mediterranean diet, a Mediterranean lifestyle can give a boost to your mental health altogether.
The study conducted in Spain had the participants consuming a Mediterranean diet that is high in fruits and vegetables. And along with the diet, the participants did regular exercise and also socialized. The findings of the study suggest that those who followed this lifestyle are less likely to be depressed as compared to others who followed some other lifestyle.
Almudena Sánchez-Villegas, the lead study author and an associate professor of preventive medicine and public health at Spain's University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, stated that previous studies have established the link between a Mediterranean diet and lower risks of depression, but the aim of the new study was to inspect the same link but with Mediterranean lifestyle and not just the diet.
The study had 11800 participants, who were asked about their food habits, as well as exercising and socializing pattern, to check their closeness to the Mediterranean lifestyle. The medical history of the participants was tracked to check if any of them was diagnosed with depression for about the past 8.5 years. And, it was found that only 806 participants had depression during the period of study.
To take a closer look, the researchers divided the participants into groups on the basis of their closeness to the Mediterranean lifestyle. And, the researchers found that the group of participants who adhered to the Mediterranean lifestyle more closely were 50 percent less likely to develop depression compared to the others who adhered the least to the Mediterranean lifestyle.
According to previous studies, the risk of depression is linked to inflammation. But with a diet that comprises nutrient-rich food items like olive oil, fruits, fish as well as nuts that also have anti-inflammatory properties, can be the link that makes people having such food less likely to be depressed. Moreover, exercising stimulates endorphins, the feel good chemical in our body and socializing promotes the psychological well-being.
A Mediterranean lifestyle comprises of all these components, which possibly build the link between lower depression and Mediterranean lifestyle. However, the scientists have not been able to discover any other link that associates lower depression to a healthy diet, exercising or socializing.