The Mediterranean Diet: Anti-Inflammatory for Better Mental Health

The Mediterranean diet is a traditional diet that has a number of health benefits. Some of these benefits relate to the ability of the diet to improve mental health. In particular, adherence to the Mediterranean diet decreases the risk of anxiety and depression. Mood disorders are caused by inflammatory processes in the brain that result from changes caused by stress. The Mediterranean diet is an anti-inflammatory diet and this may be why it is beneficial at preventing mood disorders. Other studies have investigated the effects of the Mediterranean diet on other aspects of mental performance. For example, it has been evidenced that adherence to the Mediterranean diet is protective of mild cognitive impairment. The mechanisms by which the diet can protect from both mood disorders and mild cognitive impairment may be similar, as inflammation is a likely cause of both. The diet is an anti-inflammatory diet because of the high amounts of antioxidants it contains, along with the balance of essential fats.

Mediterranean diet mood anxiety depression

Consumption of the Mediterranean diet may have particular anti-inflammatory effects. These may benefit physical and mental health.

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Chrysohoou, C., Panagiotakos, D. B., Pitsavos, C., Das, U. N. and Stefanadis, C. 2004. Adherence to the Mediterranean diet attenuates inflammation and coagulation process in healthy adults: The ATTICA Study. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 44(1): 152-158
Scarmeas, N., Stern, Y., Mayeux, R., Manly, J. J., Schupf, N. and Luchsinger, J. A. 2009. Mediterranean diet and mild cognitive impairment. Archives of neurology. 66(2): 216-225

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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