Improve your mood by adding sunshine to your plate

How can we remain in good spirits as the November days grow ever colder and shorter? We already know that getting a good night’s sleep, reducing our level of stress, having a positive circle of friends and practicing a regular physical activity are all elements that help prevent depressive episodes. A new study now suggests that what we eat may also affect our mood.

How can we remain in good spirits as the November days grow ever colder and shorter? We already know that getting a good night’s sleep, reducing our level of stress, having a positive circle of friends and practicing a regular physical activity are all elements that help prevent depressive episodes. A new study now suggests that what we eat may also affect our mood.

The Mediterranean diet had already proven beneficial in preventing cardiovascular disease and cancer, but it seems that this type of diet may also have an impact on our mood: a Spanish study suggests that people who consume a diet low in red meat and high in vegetables, fruit and cereals were about 30 percent less likely to suffer from depression.

The study involved more than 10,000 healthy adults over more than four years. Participants completed questionnaires to assess their adherence to the Mediterranean diet. The diet features a high intake of monounsaturated fats like olive oil, a moderate intake of dairy products and alcohol, rare red meat meals, and a high intake of fruit, nuts, cereals, vegetables and fish.

The researchers identified 480 new cases of depression during the four-year follow-up period. After analyzing these cases, they found that the risk of suffering from depression was 30 percent lower in individuals who followed the Mediterranean style of eating. The association remained stable even when taking into account other factors linked to depression, such as marital status.

There is increasing evidence as to the importance of diet in the treatment of depression. The researchers warn, however, that larger-scale trials are needed before the relationship can be confirmed.

In the meantime, why not take a trip to the market and make yourself a meal high in fruit, vegetables and fish, for the benefit of your taste buds, your heart and maybe even your mood?

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