According to a recent study published in The Lancet Psychiatry, performed by the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry of the University of Valencia, sticking to a Mediterranean diet filled with fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts and even red wine (pinkie up!) can help reduce the risk of mental illness and naturally fight off depression.
But ah, the love-hate dilemma of emotional eating. We’re all guilty of depending on junk food to provide us with even the slightest bit of comfort.
The occasional binge on Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, any and every baked good we can get our hands on and salty chips by the handful may temporarily ease our pain about a situation, but in reality, it only leads to feeling worse after the fact.
We know that swapping out junk for health food will inevitably clean out our systems and boost our energy levels, but did you know that certain dietary nutrients actually boost brain activity? According to researchers in this study, omega-3s, essential amino acids, B-group vitamins, vitamin D and minerals like zinc, magnesium and iron allow the brain to perform at optimum levels.
So taking care of ourselves does not begin and end with hygiene and fitness; it heavily relies on what we are putting into our bodies.
“At the population level, we had scientific evidence that Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cognitive impairment. Now we also know that it reduces the risk of depression. These are strong arguments to preserve a cultural — and wholesome — treasure that has been transmitted over time,” says Vicent Balanzá, a psychiatrist at La Fe University Hospital, who participated in this study.
Try not to think of this as a diet; consider the Mediterranean meal plan an investment in your life. When we take care of our bodies, they take care of us, and I don’t know about you, but a food plan that encourages a glass of red wine here and there sounds pretty effective to me.