A diet high in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains that’s designed to lower blood pressure can also help reduce the risk for depression, according to researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
In a study funded by the National Institutes of Aging, researchers monitored 964 participants in the Rush Memory and Aging Project (average age 81) for depression symptoms for about 6 ½ years. During the study period, the researchers divided participants into three groups based on whether their diet was closer to the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan, the Mediterranean diet, or a traditional Western diet, which is high in saturated fats and red meats and low in fruits and vegetables.
The Rush researchers discovered that those who followed the DASH diet more closely were 11 percent less likely to develop depression than those who did not follow the diet closely. Study participants who followed a Western diet were more likely to develop depression. Results of this study will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 70th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles in April.