Entry #: 42
Date: 24 March 2018
Section: Mediterranean diet
Topic: Mediterranean diet and depression
Type: Human trial
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D. Elizabeth McCord, Nancy B. Ray and Tom C. Karagiannis
Does the mind decrease depression risk? A comparison with Mediterranean diet in the SUN cohort
Fresán et al
Citation / Year
(1) / 2018
Mediterranean diet, Mediterranean-dietary approaches to stop hypertension (DASH) diet, Mind diet, food-frequency questionnaire, depression
Depression represents a major clinical problem associated with significant loss in quality of life and increased mortality (2, 3). While effective, current pharmacological approaches are linked with significant side effects and relapse rates are relatively high, estimated to be at approximately 50% of cases (4, 5). As a different approach, there is increased interest in investigating the relationship between dietary patterns and depression. To date, recommendations are variable, and in cases controversial with the general consensus being that plant-based and omega-3 rich diets, providing some protection (6). In this context, the Mediterranean diet has been shown to reduce the risk for depression (7). In addition, the Mediterranean diet has been associated with reducing cognitive impairment which has been also been associated with depression (8). Another dietary regimen known the dietary approach to stop hypertension (DASH), diet has also been shown to protect against cognitive loss (9). Given the potential beneficial effects of the Mediterranean and DASH diets have both been associated with beneficial cognitive effects, efforts have been made to produce a modified hybrid Mediterranean-DASH diet for neurodegenerative delay, referred to as the MIND diet (10, 11). The aim of this study was to compare the association of depression with adherence to either traditional Mediterranean diet or the Mind diet.
Key points and implications
This study is part of the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra (SUN), follow-up study, which a relatively large (total n=223200, and long-term (1999-2016), prospective cohort study (12). By following stringent inclusion criteria, and following typical losses, at total of 15980 participants were included in the study. Following, a baseline dietary assessment using a well-validated food-frequency questionnaire (136-items), adherence to the MIND and traditional Mediterranean diets were made (13). Adherence to the MIND diet was made using a validated 15 dietary component tool (11), and adherence to the Mediterranean diet was made by assessing against a validated nine component strategy (14) and comparing data with the 14-point Mediterranean diet adherence screener, which was utilised in the important PREDIMED trial (15). In short, although adherence to the MIND diet tended towards a reduced risk of depression, adherence to the Mediterranean diet significantly reduced the risk of depression. Given the similarity of the Mediterranean and MIND diets – both invoking an importance on the consumption of vegetables, legumes, nuts, and fish, these findings are interesting and it would be important to further define the characteristics of the two diets that may have led to the differential findings. The authors propose, that unlike the Mediterranean diet, green leafy vegetables and berries are specified in the MIND diet, providing a potential point of difference (1). Despite the nuances, the exciting inverse association between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and depression highlights the importance of dietary patterns and cognitive health.
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