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There’s a recent article on the bbc website on the ‘Mediterranean diet’, and depression. A recent study found evidence that those who are on a Mediterranean diet are 30% less likely to experience depression than those not on such a diet. The authors of the study state that more research is needed to confirm the results, but in the meantime this result reminds the importance of eating well. If you don’t eat well, your body isn’t going to be as healthy, and if your body isn’t healthy, it’s difficult to be mentally healthy. So with new years is looming, maybe it’s a good time to consider making a resolution to have a healthier diet?

If you’re looking at changing your diet, there are a number of approaches. The general rules are usually pretty well known; It’s important to get your fruit and vegetables (five plus a day!), and it’s usually a good idea to make sure we’re not eating too many calories, especially from animal fats (like KFC) or high glycemic index carbs (like white bread) – unless you’re an athlete, in which case you can eat a little more. It’s also nice to get some fish in your diet, as fish are a good source of omega-3s, and a good source of protein (especially for people who are uncomfortable eating other meats).

Now, looking the Mediterranean diet in particular, it emphasizes a couple of things:

  • High consumption of lots unsaturated fats (generally but not always plant fats), especially olive oil. This is in contrast to saturated (generally animal) fats.
  • High consumption of fruits and nuts, cereals, vegetables and fish
  • Medium consumption of alcohol (e.g. red wine) and dairy products. Personally, I’d exercise some caution with the alcohol, as a high consumption of alcohol is not a good thing for you physically or mentally¬† – Additionally, alcohol and anti-depressants are a bad combination, so if you’re on antidepressants, I’d be very cautious consuming any alcohol.
  • Low consumption of meat
So there you have it. The Mediterranean diet. If you’re looking to try something new, maybe try and put a bit of Mediterranean into your diet? Get a Mediterranean cookbook (or do a quick google search), and try out a few recipes. If you like a recipe / food that’s healthy, keep it, if you don’t like a recipe / food, look for another one. Make a few changes at a time and build yourself a healthier diet. It’s not going to solve all your problems, but it’s one step towards being healthier.
Mediterranean
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December 2009
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