Afraid of Winter Depression? Go Mediterranean

The Mediterranean diet is not only good for its more well-known reasons — protecting against heart disease and cancer. According to a new study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, the Mediterranean diet, rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, nuts, and fish, may decrease risk of depression.

Spanish researchers reported that 30 percent of patients who followed the Mediterranean diet (high in monounsaturated fats such as olive oil and low in saturated fats from meat and dairy products; including moderate intake of alcohol, and high intake of legumes, fruits, veggies, nuts, and grains) were at a lower risk of mental illnesses compared to populations who did not adhere to such a diet. It also showed that the main followers of the Mediterranean diet are males, ex-smokers, married people, and elderly individuals.

“The specific mechanisms by which a better adherence to the Mediterranean dietary pattern could help to prevent the occurrence of depression are not well known,” the researchers report. To explain how exactly the Mediterranean style of eating links to protection against depression, however, more studies have to be performed.

The researchers do think it is not individual components on their own but the whole diet combined that is important for protecting against depression. Almudena Sanchez-Villegas, the lead researcher of the new study, says:

The role of the overall dietary pattern may be more important than the effect of single components. It is plausible that the synergistic combination of a sufficient provision of omega-three fatty acids together with other natural unsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants from olive oil and nuts, flavonoids and other phytochemicals from fruit and other plant foods and large amounts of natural folates and other B vitamins in the overall Mediterranean dietary pattern may exert a fair degree of protection against depression.

These optimistic findings can lighten up a society touched heavily more and more by depression.

The Mediterranean diet is well known for helping to reduce a person’s weight, improve mental sharpness and reduce the cholesterol, which can harden the arteries. Moreover, it is becoming a popular green style of eating due to the fact that its followers consume little amount of meat (which increase carbon emissions). Here is one more reason to try out the Mediterranean.

By Zachary Shahan, Green Options

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Joel Romp
Joel R.2 years ago

this is just what the doctor ordered for this year!

Dale Overall

Mediterranean diet could help prevent the depression that some feel from winter? Nice try but believe me when the ground freezes rock solid in mid-November, it gets dark at three thirty in the faces -30 or -40 temperatures...and then there are of course the wind chills. Of course getting up and trussing oneself up like a mummy with many layers of clothing...salt laden streets...lock deicer fluid...-30 windshield washer fluid, change to winter tires, scraping the wretched freezing rain that has left inches of ice on the car...trying to force the door open and then climbing into a frozen vehicle as your breath fogs up the interior. Making sure you are dressed warmly and carrying a survival kit in case your car should break down or else you freeze to death waiting for help. Winter? Two weeks of it would be bearable...but from late fall onward while waiting for the grass to turn green in late April to cover up that barren tree and beige grass dormant diet is going to change the bitter reality of a long and cold winter. Could be worse, I could live in the High Arctic where the sun doesn't shine at all, a virtual dusk for the entire winter depending on how far north you are. I could of course move to temperate parts of Lotusland and sing in the endless rain but they are waiting for The Big One and Tsunamis so I am stuck with eastern Ontario winters.

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe3 years ago

Winter is depressing! I hate not being able to work in my yard because of the rain, snow, or ice! Maybe I should try this diet to make me stop cussing out the weatherman (LOL) !!

Nimue Pendragon
Nimue Pendragon3 years ago

Winter depression? Never! I LOVE winter! :)

New G.
New G.3 years ago

Good to know, thank you.

Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Valerie G.
Val G.4 years ago


Melissah C.
Melissah C.4 years ago


Jennifer C.
Past Member 4 years ago

Great info. Thanks for sharing.

Carol Cowbrough
Carol Cowbrough4 years ago

Noted. Thank you.