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Does improving your diet, improve your mental health?

· eat,nutrition,health

Did you know that… what you eat, can impact your mental health?

Allow me to share with you an interesting study that was published in January 2017.

The study wanted to answer the question: “If I improve my diet, will my mental health improve?”

This study was aptly called the ‘SMILES’ study, and it was conducted in Australia. The researchers wanted to investigate whether the addition of dietary interventions would impact moderate to severe depression.

The study ran for 12 weeks and the dietary group was given advice, counselling and motivation. The dietary group was then placed on what was called the ‘ModiMedDiet’.

The ‘ModiMedDiet’ was based on the Australian Dietary guidelines and the Dietary Guidelines for Adults in Greece.

The following recommendations were made to the participants of the study…

  • whole grains (5–8 servings per day)
  • vegetables (6 per day)
  • fruit (3 per day)
  • legumes (3–4 per week)
  • low-fat and unsweetened dairy foods (2–3 per day)
  • raw and unsalted nuts (1 per day)
  • fish (at least 2 per week)
  • lean red meats (3–4 per week)
  • chicken (2–3 per week)
  • eggs (up to 6 per week)
  • olive oil (3 tablespoons per day)

whilst reducing intake of ‘extras’ foods, such as sweets, refined cereals, fried food, fast-food, processed meats and sugary drinks (no more than 3 per week).

Red or white wine consumption beyond 2 standard drinks per day and all other alcohol (e.g. spirits, beer) were included within the ‘extras’ food group.

The results revealed that the dietary group had greater improvements in their Depression Scores and Anxiety Scores.

The researchers have concluded that although this is only the first study, and more studies need to be conducted in order to replicate these results…


the dietary advice guided by professionals may provide a good treatment strategy for those suffering from depression.

I am a strong advocate of the Greek Mediterranean Diet as it has many physical and mental health benefits. The Seven Country Study revealed that the Greek Mediterranean Diet protects against many chronic diseases such as… heart disease, stroke, cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Diseases, and Depression.

I do like to highlight the importance of a healthy diet, as it also important for children with ADHD to eat well, as they often suffer from depression and anxiety.

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