Is there anything the Mediterranean diet can't do? In addition to its proven benefits for weight loss, skin, and long-term health, an eating regimen rich in antioxidant-packed staples like olive oil, fish, whole grains, and leafy greens can also cut the risk of developing depression, scientists have found.
In a study of 15,000 people over 15 years, participants were asked to follow one of three diets: the Mediterranean diet, the Alternative Healthy Eating Index-2010 (which is very similar), or a vegetarian diet. None of the participants initially reported depression when the study began, and after eight years, 1550 reported a depression diagnosis.
The scientists found that of all the depression cases, those following the Mediterranean diet (as well as the similarly formulated Alternative Healthy diet plan) reported the greatest reduction in symptoms, even if they were only following their diets moderately. Why? The scientists guess that it's because the Mediterranean diet is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are linked to better mood.
So basically, there's a reason noshing on Italian food makes us oh so happy—and not just because it's so tasty.
Another way to get your fill of mood-boosting omega-3s is with a supplement: Try Nature's Way Mega 3/6/9 Omega Blend ($29).
Have you ever followed the Mediterranean diet? What were the results like for you? Tell us in the comments below!