Investigators evaluated 8,369 women aged 50-55 years in a cross-sectional analysis and 7,588 women in the same age group in a longitudinal analysis. The subjects completed a food frequency questionnaire at the beginning of the study. Depressive symptoms were evaluated at the beginning of the study and again after three years using the Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale.
The researchers found that a higher consumption of a Mediterranean-style diet was associated with an 18 percent decrease in the likelihood of depressive symptoms in the cross-sectional analysis at the beginning of the study. The investigators also determined that a higher consumption of a Mediterranean-style diet was associated with a 17 percent decrease in the likelihood of depressive symptoms over three years in the longitudinal analysis. Other dietary patterns did not remain significantly associated with depressive symptoms after adjusting the data for confounding factors.
The study authors concluded, “Consumption of a 'Mediterranean-style' dietary pattern by mid-aged women may have a protective influence against the onset of depressive symptoms. These findings suggest that dietary patterns have a potential role in the prevention and management of depressive symptoms.”
Rienks J, et al. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2012 Dec 5. [Epub ahead of print.]