Which types of diets have been shown to improve mental health and possibly improve or prevent depression?

Updated: Aug 06, 2020
  • Author: Jerry L Halverson, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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The low-sodium Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, previously shown to reduce hypertension and stroke risk, may also help ward off depression. Besides being low in sodium, the diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods. A study found that participants who most closely adhered to the diet were 11% less likely to become depressed over time than those least adherent to the diet. [205]

The Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fish, fruits, and vegetables, with olive oil as the main source of fat, protects cognition and can improve mental health in individuals with depression. [205, 206, 207]

The MIND diet is a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diets and has also been shown to preserve brain health. It may be key in maintaining cognition and reducing dementia risk. [205, 208]

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