Mediterranean diet may improve symptoms in young men

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New research hails the benefits of a Mediterranean diet for relieving symptoms of depression in young men. Michela Ravasio/Stocksy
  • Depression is a mood disorder that affects 3.8% of the world’s population.
  • New research from the University of Technology Sydney suggests that the Mediterranean diet helps improve symptoms of depression in young men.
  • Researchers observed an improvement in depression symptoms in all participants receiving Mediterranean diet support, with 36% of them having reduced their symptoms to low or minimal depression norms.

In recent years, the Mediterranean diet has quickly become the diet of the day. Research shows that this way of eating has a number of positive health impacts, including improving a person’s gut microbiome, reducing caress risks and help prevent diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Scientists have also linked the Mediterranean diet to reduce the risk of depression.

Researchers at the University of Technology Sydney have now found evidence that a Mediterranean diet may also help improve symptoms in young men with depression.

The study has just been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a person to have negative thoughts, feelings, and actions. People with depression are constantly sad, leading to a general lack of interest in activities they once enjoyed. They may also experience:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Sleep problems
  • Fatigue
  • Anger and irritability
  • Agitation and/or restlessness
  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating
  • A feeling of guilt or worthlessness
  • Very slow speech and/or body movements
  • Unexplained body pain
  • Thoughts of death and/or suicide

Researchers believe that depression affects 3.8% of the world’s population. And suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among young adults aged 15 to 29.

Researchers believe that depression affects 5% of the global adult population, with women almost twice as likely to be affected as men. Although women and men can experience many of the same signs and symptoms of depression, they can also differ.

For example, one study suggested that men may be more likely than women to manifest depression through feelings of anger or substance abuse.

According to Jessica Bayes, PhD candidate at the University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Health, and lead author of this study, she and her research team decided to focus on young men aged 18-25 for this study. study because young men are much less likely to seek help for their mental health.

“We urgently need more effective, evidence-based treatment strategies to help depression that appeal to young men,” she said. DTM. “The diet could be a great first step towards recovery.”

Bayes and his team conducted a 12-week randomized controlled trial with 72 male participants between the ages of 18 and 25 with moderate to severe depression. Participants were randomly selected to receive dietary support by learning to eat a Mediterranean diet or make friends — in which the researcher spoke to the participant about neutral topics, such as movies or hobbies.

At the end of the study, researchers reported that 100% of participants in the Mediterranean diet support group experienced an improvement in their symptoms of depression.

In this group, 36% saw their Beck Depression Inventory Scale (BDI-II) drop to a score of 0 to 10 (mild or minimal depression). Although there was also a drop in the mean score in the friendship group, all participants’ scores in the friendship group remained at the moderate to severe depression level at the end of the trial.

According to Bayes, while previous observational evidence shows that a Mediterranean diet is helpful in preventing depression, this was the first study in young men with clinical depression to test the diet in an experimental trial.

“We were surprised at how quickly the positive effects were seen and the participants’ willingness to continue the diet after the trial ended,” she explained.

“Nearly all of our participants remained with the program, and many were keen to continue the diet after the study was completed, showing how effective, tolerable, and helpful they found the intervention.”

–Jessica Bayes

DTM also spoke with Dr. David A. Merrill, psychiatrist and director of the Pacific Brain Health Center of the Pacific Neuroscience Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, who was very excited about the results of this study.

Dr. Merrill said the Mediterranean diet provides a bio-psycho-social model for treating depression. “Men tend to have poor diets in general and tend to strive for convenient fast foods that are nutritionally poor or suboptimal,” he explained.

“This type of nutritional intervention is about biology – it can improve the micronutrient status of individuals, things like […] pro-cognitive and pro-mood supports [and] proteins that are precursors to neurotransmitters like serotonin.

“This [also tends] have a social component […] in terms of preparation, food invites collaboration, like a partnership with family members, loved ones, cooks, chefs, which becomes a social impetus.

Additionally, Dr. Merrill said the Mediterranean diet may be an easier lifestyle change for people to adopt compared to other diets, such as the ketogenic diet or intermittent fasting.

“One of the reasons the Mediterranean-style diet may be one of the most effective nutritional interventions is that people tend to stick with it at higher rates,” he said.

“People tend to stop doing [limitation diets] once they exit a structured trial. It is true that food should be enjoyable, sustainable and social. Fortunately, the Mediterranean diet fits all of this and is also very nutritious.