By Gwyn Wright via SWNS
A Mediterranean diet can help young men beat depression, according to a new study.
Doctors should look to send unhappy youngsters to a nutritionist or dietitian as part of their patient’s treatment program, scientists said.
The clinical trial is the first to assess the impact of a Mediterranean diet - which consists of fresh fruit and veggies, fish and grains - on young men’s mental health.
Millions of young British men suffer from the blues and suicide is the most common cause of death in young men, according to Office for National Statistics figures.
For the study involving 72 men aged 18 to 25, a group of them were fed the healthy nutritious diet over 12 weeks while another group took part in befriending therapy.
They were assessed at the beginning of the trial and then again after six and 12 weeks.
The men who munched on Mediterranean meals were found to have a “significantly” higher quality of life score than the group who undertook befriending sessions.
Their BDI-II score, which is a widely used measure of depressive symptoms, also got better more quickly.
The researchers say the diet may help people suffering with poor mental health by helping their gut release serotonin.
The chemical is made by gut microbes but they need to be fed fiber, found in fruit and vegetables, if they are to work well.
Lead researcher Jessica Bayes from the University of Technology Sydney said: “These results highlight the important role of nutrition for the treatment of depression and should inform advice given by clinicians to this specific demographic population.
“The primary focus was on increasing diet quality with fresh wholefoods while reducing the intake of ‘fast’ foods, sugar and processed red meat.
“There are lots of reasons why scientifically we think food affects mood.
“For example, around 90 percent of serotonin, a chemical that helps us feel happy, is made in our gut by our gut microbes.
“There is emerging evidence that these microbes can communicate to the brain via the vagus nerve, in what is called the gut-brain axis.
“To have beneficial microbes, we need to feed them fiber, which is found in legumes, fruits and vegetables.”
Around a third of depressed men fail to respond to standard treatments and researchers hope they will help people who may not respond well to existing medicine.
The men were willing to take on the diet and wanted to carry on with it once the program had ended.
Bayes added: “We were surprised by how willing the young men were to take on a new diet.
“Those assigned to the Mediterranean diet were able to significantly change their original diets, under the guidance of a nutritionist, over a short time frame.
“It suggests that medical doctors and psychologists should consider referring depressed young men to a nutritionist or dietitian as an important component of treating clinical depression.
“Nearly all our participants stayed with the program, and many were keen to continue the diet once the study ended, which shows how effective, tolerable and worthwhile they found the intervention.”
The findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Stories and infographics by ‘Talker Research’ are available to download & ready to use. Stories and videos by ‘Talker News’ are managed by SWNS. To license content for editorial or commercial use and to see the full scope of SWNS content, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or submit an inquiry via our contact form.
Risk of heart disease could be slashed with one tiny life change
The results are regardless of people’s lifestyle.
This 6-year-old boy is his mom’s biggest hype man
"He's complimented my makeup for as long as I can remember," she said.
Mom shares how to make sparse Christmas tree look catalogue-ready
"I'm glad people could learn things from it."
Hyenas, wild dogs and cheetahs disappearing from African savannah
Their plight has been overlooked owing to the focus on lions, leopards and other top predators.
People mourning the death of their pets often struggle to find support
The research has the aim of ending stigma associated with pet mourning.
- Shopping6 days ago
Why a lot of Americans plan to shop in person for Black Friday this year
- Holidays6 days ago
Healthy eating canceled for the rest of the year
- Small Biz7 days ago
Survey says these are the best things about shopping small
- Animals6 days ago
Man thought he found an alien on the beach, here’s what it really is
- Animals6 days ago
Pooch gets ‘new lease of life’ after vets remove massive stone from her bladder
- Good News6 days ago
Man born with half a body refuses to let it hold him back
- Outer Space1 day ago
Wall-E-like robot to provide power on Moon by 2025
- Animals6 days ago
Intruder fox refused to leave after trashing kitchen and plopping down on counter