The Advantages of a Mediterranean Diet
When diet and mental health go hand-in-hand, you can see the connection between the two and the key elements to diet and mental health are nutrition and mental outlook. Anxiety and depression are now the most prevalent mental health issues worldwide, causing them to be a leading cause of impairment in adults. As such, new approaches to dealing with both subclinical and clinical depression and stress are required. Currently, a lack of proper diet and mental health research funding makes it difficult to find the latest in diet and mental health studies and trials. That means that diet and mental health research is less than active.
Proper diet and mental health start at the very beginning of life through proper nutrition and starts from childhood until we reach our golden years. A diet and mental health approach to this issue must begin in children, as it is much easier to develop healthy attitudes towards diet and nutrition than in adults. In fact, a diet and mental health program for children and adolescents has already been proven to decrease depression and improve mood, improve sleep quality and enhance overall wellness. This diet and mental health approach is not only beneficial for children’s health but also for their parents.
One of the most recent dietary interventions aimed at diet and mental health has been the correlation between diets and inflammatory indicators. Inflammation is a natural response in the body when the body is injured or exposed to disease. However, over years, we have seen an increase in the occurrence of inflammation in Western societies, which can lead to both short-term and long-term health problems. These diet and mental health conditions have been linked to increased inflammation and consequently, poorer diet and mental health. The study showed that both inflammatory disorders were more prevalent in women than in men and that the association was particularly strong for inflammatory disorders of the digestive system (mouth, stomach, throat, esophagus and liver).
The Mediterranean diet is well known for its balance of fat, protein, carbohydrates and fruit. It is an effective diet and mental health strategy due to the variety of food sources and the relatively lower consumption of dairy products. A diet and mental health program includes the regular consumption of olive oil, fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds and herbs. Also, it is recommended that the patient should avoid processed foods and sugar. The Mediterranean diet and mental health program is also recommended to patients with gastrointestinal disorders as well as patients with hypoglycemia.
The Mediterranean diet and mental health regimen is also effective in lowering the levels of inflammatory hormones in the blood and in turn improves the functioning of the immune system. The research was conducted by the universities of Milan and Rome. The study involved 8 women with mild to moderate chronic dysmenorrhea and treated them with a traditional Mediterranean diet for 4 weeks. The subjects showed a notable improvement in both sleep and physical health, compared to the placebo group who only showed improvement in the physical health domain.
It is the first controlled trial to report significant effects of a dietary supplement on major psychiatric disorders and behavior issues in people already diagnosed with bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. The researchers involved in this study also showed that the improvement in mood and decreased anxiety was caused primarily by a reduction in the amounts of the inflammatory hormones in the bloodstream. However, the results of the controlled trials are yet inconclusive. More research is needed to confirm these results.