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The anti-depression diet

There is a relationship between food and depression. Nutritionists at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria studied fifteen thousand Spaniards and discovered that there is a diet that reduces the likelihood of depression. And it's a diet that will be familiar to readers of this free webzine...

The researchers followed just over fifteen thousand men and women, all graduates of the University of Navarra, from 1999 until 2014. They had information on the participants' diet and scored them according to three different categories: Mediterranean Diet Score, the Pro-Vegetarian Dietary Pattern Score and the Alternative Healthy Eating Score.

Click here to see how the Spaniards scored the diets.

For all three diet scores, the higher a participant scored, the lower the chance of the participant suffering from depression.

The anti-depression diet

It was above all a high Alternative Healthy Eating Score [AHEI] that reduced the likelihood of depression. The participants scored high when they ate relatively large amounts of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, beans, oily fish and vegetable oils, and only minimal amounts of salt, trans fatty acids, soft drinks, fruit juices and red or processed meat.

The anti-depression diet

"Interestingly, our observed dose-response relationships did not suggest a linear pattern", the researchers wrote. "Instead, a threshold effect was apparent, with substantial risk reductions with moderate adherence compared to low adherence to quality dietary patterns, but almost no further extra benefit with subsequent improvements from moderate to maximum adherence."

"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. More studies analysing the role of the adequacy of nutrient intake to meet neurophysiological requirements and the role of suboptimal levels of micronutrients in depression risk are needed to explore this possible dose–response pattern."

"Also, further large prospective studies and trials to confirm this hypothesis are needed to provide effective population strategies for using dietary patterns in the prevention of depression."

BMC Medicine (2015) 13:197.

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