The Depression Diet

British and French researchers that published in the November, 2009 issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry compared depression rates among people that consumed fish, fruits and vegetables to those who ate large amounts of fried foods, processed meats, refined grains and sugary foods.

UK Study

The diets of almost 3,500 middle-aged office workers were looked at over five years. 2 The scientists found that the processed food diet was linked with a 58% increased chance of depression and a whole food diet seemed to lower the risk of depression by 26%.

The Mediterranean diet has gotten much attention in terms of brain function and mood. 2 It seems to protect against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, for example. 2 Lower rates of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke have already been associated with the Mediterranean diet. 3 These conditions are related to chronic inflammation in the body.

Spanish Study

Dr. Miguel Angel Martinez-Gonzalez, lead researcher in a Spanish study published in the October, 2009 issue of

Archives of General Psychiatry, says: “Both cardiovascular disease and depression share common mechanisms related to endothelium function and inflammation.The membranes of our neurons are composed of fat, so the quality of fat that you are eating definitely has an influence on the quality of the neuron membranes, and the body’s synthesis of neurotransmitters is dependent on the vitamins you’re eating. We think those with lowest adherence to the Mediterranean dietary plan have a deficiency of essential nutrients.” 4

Martin-Gonzalez and his colleagues found that countries surrounding the Mediterranean report lower rates of mental illness and suicide than their neighbors in Northern Europe. 3

The researchers followed 10,094 University of Navarra graduates for 4 and ½ years and found that the more closely the participants followed a Mediterranean diet, the lower reports were of symptoms of diagnosis of depression: 3 those that followed it most closely reduced their risk of depression by about 50%. 4

The scientists reported that “the role of the overall dietary pattern may be more important than the effect of single components,” that it is the “synergistic combination” of antioxidants and vitamins from fruit, vegetables and wine and the healthy fats in fish, nuts and olive oil that seem to have protective effects. 3

Australian Study

An Australian study, published in the January, 2010 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, has come up with even more interesting results. 5 Although decreasing animal meat intake is often recommended, the Australian traditional diet contains large amounts of high-quality animal meats.

University of Melbourne researchers looked at three types of diets followed by over 1000 women from age 20 to 93. 5 The traditional Australian diet is made up of beef, fish, lamb, fruits and vegetables and whole grains; the Western diet is made up of processed meats, fried foods, refined carbs, flavored milk drinks and sugary foods; and the “modern diet” is made up of fish and tofu, beans and nuts, yogurt, fruits and salads. 6

Women who consumed a traditional Australian diet had a 30% reduced incidence of major depression and anxiety disorders. 5 The women that followed a Western diet had a 50% increased incidence of depression. 5 The women that followed the modern diet had an increased likelihood for depression. 5 Why?

Dr. Felice Jacka theorized that these women may have already been suffering from symptoms of depression and were attempting to rectify it with diet. 5 Another possibility for the finding, said Jacka, is that the traditional diet contained better foods than the modern one: “vegetables rather than salads” and “good-quality red meat as opposed to tofu.” 6

Australians are among the biggest meat-eaters in the world. The study also found that people who consumed more beef and lamb were less likely to suffer from depression. 5 A good portion of omega-3 fatty acids in the Australian traditional diet comes from red meat says Jacka. 5

“We’ve traditionally thought of omega-3s as only coming from fatty fish, but actually, good-quality red meat, that is, naturally raised, has very good levels of omega-3 fatty acids, whereas red meat that comes from feedlots tends to be higher in omega-6 fatty acids,” Jacka said. 5

North American cattle, points out Jacka, are fed from birth to death on corn. 5 This “increases saturated fat and decreases very important good fatty acids,” she said, “whereas in Australia, “red meat, such as beef and lamb, come from pasture-raised animals, so it has a much healthier fatty acid profile.” 5

Dr. Blahnik’s Advice

Stop being like everyone else…When 6 out of 10 People consider themselves depressed, it’s time to not want to eat like, think like or feel like everyone else. Be different…take a stand for your health and your kids health. Start eating to clean up the mess… ABC’S.

A – Add  Healthy Natural Foods and eliminate all processed foods, refined sugars, flours and grains.

B – Balance your pH = By Adding Greens , Alkalize and Energize

C – Consume at least 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water per day.

S – Start Moving: Get 3-10minutes of Focused Movement in the Morning, Afternoon and Evening

To Learn more Natural Health Alternatives visit www.NextLevelHealth.com

1)Nauert, Rick PhD (2009, Nov. 4). Healthy Diet May Reduce Middle-Aged Depression. Psych Central [online]. Retrieved from
3)Healy, Melissa (2009, Oct. 5). Mediterranean diet reduces depression, study suggests. LA Times [online]. Retrieved from


5)Cassels, Caroline (2010, Jan. 15). Whole Diet May Ward Off Depression and Anxiety. Psychiatric News [online]. Retrieved from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/715239

6)Arehart-Treichel, Joan (2010, Apr. 2). Could ‘Modern’ Diet Raise Depression Risk? Psychiatric News [online]. Retrieved from http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/content/45/7/14.1.full

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