According to new research from BioMed Central, fruits and vegetables do more than just protect the body. Fruits and vegetables help prevent depression as well.
Researchers have lately focused on the effects of diet on mental health. According to the researchers, this is the first time that several dietary patterns and depression risk have been studied together.
The researchers compared three diets: Mediterranean, the Pro-vegetarian Dietary Pattern and Alternative Healthy Eating Index-2010.
Almudena Sanchez-Villegas, lead researcher from University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria says, “We wanted to understand what role nutrition plays in mental health, as we believe certain dietary patterns could protect our minds. These diets are all associated with physical health benefits and now we find that they could have a positive effect on our mental health. The protective role is ascribed to their nutritional properties, where nuts, legumes, fruits and vegetables (sources of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals) could reduce the risk of depression.”
The researchers found that The Alternative Healthy Eating Index-2010 was linked to the biggest reduction in depression risk, which can be explained by its similarities to the Mediterranean diet. Foods such as omega-3 fatty acids, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and nuts are common in both of the diets.
Almudena Sanchez-Villegas added:
“A threshold effect may exist. The noticeable difference occurs when participants start to follow a healthier diet. Even a moderate adherence to these healthy dietary patterns was associated with an important reduction in the risk of developing depression. However, we saw no extra benefit when participants showed high or very high adherence to the diets. So, once the threshold is achieved, the reduced risk plateaus even if participants were stricter with their diets and eating more healthily. This dose-response pattern is compatible with the hypothesis that suboptimal intake of some nutrients (mainly located in low adherence levels) may represent a risk factor for future depression.”
The study showing that fruits and vegetables help prevent depression was published in the journal BioMed Central.
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1. “Fruit and Vegetables Aren’t Only Good for a Healthy Body — They Protect Your Mind Too.” EurekAlert! EurekAlert!, n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.
2. “A Longitudinal Analysis of Diet Quality Scores and the Risk of Incident Depression in the SUN Project.” BMC Medicine. BMC Medicine, n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.