US scientists have said that a diet which emphasises the consumption of vegetables, fruit and whole grains may lead to a reduced risk of depression.
Researchers from Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago found that those who followed the so-called Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet were less likely to develop depression than people who did not. The study evaluated a total of 964 participants with an average age of 81 annually for approximately six-and-a-half years.
Each participant was monitored for symptoms of depression and filled out questionnaires about how often they ate various foods. The researchers examined how closely the participants’ reported diets adhered to different diets such as the DASH diet, a Mediterranean diet and the traditional Western diet, which is high in saturated fats and red meats and low in fruits and vegetables.
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“There is evidence linking healthy lifestyle changes to lower rates of depression and this study sought to examine the role that diet plays in preventing depression,” explained study author Dr Laurel Cherian of Rush University Medical Centre. “Future studies are now needed to confirm these results and to determine the best nutritional components of the DASH diet to prevent depression later in life and to best help people keep their brains healthy.”
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