Value of Mediterranean Diet for Depression, ADHD

Mediterranean DietThree very recent studies have added to the evidence that a modified Mediterranean Diet is not only good for the heart but for brain function as well.  In an Australian study by Felice Jacka and colleagues, 34 patients with severe depression following a modified Mediterranean diet were compared to 33 controls.  The advantages of the diet were highly statistically significant (I have appended the full published report). Most of the people in the study were receiving traditional psychiatric medications and psychotherapy–the effect size was above those fundamental treatments. In the second study from Spain by Rios-Hernandez and colleagues, published in the February 2017 on-line edition of Pediatrics, 120 children and adolescents were studied.  Half had newly diagnosed ADHD, half were “normal” controls.  The ADHD kids were significantly more likely to have poor dietary habits, including much higher junk food and sugar consumption (see below for details).  The study does not prove that poor diet causes ADHD but adds to the growing evidence that healthy eating is good for the heart and brain.  The third study, published last week, joins the stream of articles  confirming that dietary intake of fish raising the level of poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) has a protective effect in treatment of depression in the elderly.  The study by Sharifan and colleagues was published in The International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, first online 30 January, 2017.

Below is the modified Mediterranean Diet for the Australian study (as summarized by the Australian Broadcast Corporation)

Modified Mediterranean Diet (study)


To quote from the Pediatrics Results summary:

Lower frequency of consuming fruit, vegetables, pasta, and rice and higher frequency of skipping breakfast and eating at fast-food restaurants were associated with ADHD diagnosis (P < .05). High consumption of sugar, candy, cola beverages, and noncola soft drinks (P < .01) and low consumption of fatty fish (P <.05) were also associated with a higher prevalence of ADHD diagnosis.

Below are links the full text of both articles.

A randomised controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major depression (the ‘SMILES’ trial) – art10.

Mediterranean Diet and ADHD.Pediatrics

Credit: the photo at the top comes from ABC News.AU

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