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New research shows diet’s importance for preventing depression

You know how it is - no buses in sight, then two come along at once.  It's been a bit similar for good research on diet and depression.  There have been plenty of studies on individual components of diet and mood (e.g. fish, folate, other B vitamins), but very little on the possible psychological effects of diet as a whole.  Then in October's edition of Archives of General Psychiatry, along came:

Recent research: diet associated depression, weight & violence, vitamin D fall prevention, IBS & anxiety, yoga & mindfulness

Here are a mixed bag of six recent research papers on diet, vitamin D, IBS and yoga (all details & abstracts to these studies are listed further down this blog post).  The first three papers highlight the toxic effects on psychological health, physical health, and society of our processed, high sugar diets.  Sanchez-Villegas et al map a bit more clearly the potential link between diet and depression.  They conclude "Our results suggest a potential protective role of the MDP (Mediterranean dietary pattern) with regard to the prevention of depressive disorders; additional longitudinal studies and trials are needed to confirm these findings."  Fiorito et al show that intake of sweetened drinks in 5 year old girls predicts overweight over subsequent childhood and adolescence, and - rather scarily - Moore & colleagues show a link between confectionary consumption at age 10 and subsequent violence in adulthood.  They concluded "Children who ate confectio

Recent research: six studies on eating habits, obesity, vitamin D, lifestyle & dementia

Here are half a dozen studies on weight, bite size, vitamin D, dietary supplements, and ways of avoiding dementia.  Andrew et al report on the "Incident cancer burden attributable to excess body mass index in 30 European countries" estimating that about 6% of cancers could be avoided if we could maintain healthier weights (abstracts & links for all six articles mentioned appear further down this page).  Zijlstra and colleagues suggest a possible response!  They randomized subjects to eating with different bite (mouthful) sizes and different chewing times.  They found that " ... greater oral sensory exposure to a product, by eating with small bite sizes rather than with large bite sizes and increasing OPT (oral processing time), significantly decreases food intake."  As Mum might put it "Don't wolf your food!"

Recent research: 3 studies on diet & (cardiovascular) health, 2 on fish oil, dementia & postpartum depression, and 1 on walnuts!

Here are half a dozen studies on diet (see below for all abstracts and links).  The first three are about the benefits of healthy lifestyle.  Trichopoulou & colleagues evaluated the contribution of nine widely accepted components of the Mediterranean diet (high intake of vegetables, fruits and nuts, legumes, fish, and cereals; low intake of meat and dairy; high ratio of monounsaturated to saturated lipids; and moderate intake of ethanol) in the inverse association of this diet with all cause mortality.  They concluded that "The dominant components of the Mediterranean diet score as a predictor of lower mortality are moderate consumption of ethanol, low consumption of meat and meat products, and high consumption of vegetables, fruits and nuts, olive oil, and legumes.

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