RSSDiet reduces depression: new study

Posted on Tue, 15 May 18

Diet reduces depression: new study

An important new clinical trial has found that people with depression experience a large reduction in symptoms with cooking workshops, better food and fish oil supplements.    

Very recently the first randomized controlled trial of a dietary intervention for depression, the aptly named “SMILES trial,” was shown to induce remission in 32% of people with major depression within just 12-weeks. 

Adding to the remarkable findings of the SMILES trial, a new clinical study of a Mediterranean-style diet supplemented with fish oil in people with depression was recently published. 

In the study, people with depression participated in cooking workshops “focused on simple, healthy, affordable, tasty meals using Mediterranean-style dietary principles.” They also received food hampers “for ingredients for the recipe that had been cooked, and in addition including 500 ml extra virgin olive oil, vegetables, fruit, tinned legumes, tinned tomatoes, tinned tuna and mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts).” In addition, they took fish oil supplements providing 900 mg DHA and 200 mg EPA daily for the 3-month duration of the study.

Those that received the dietary intervention had a 45% improvement in depression scores, compared to 26.8% in the control group (which consisted of social activities to mimic the cooking classes, but no dietary change).  

"The magnitude of benefit was large,” commented the study investigators, ‘with 60% fewer persons experiencing extremely severe levels of depression, 72% of anxiety and 69% of stress in the diet group.”

“With the increased personal, societal and financial burden of chronic physical and mental illness, getting back to basics by promoting cooking skills and family/ group meals could be such a simple yet powerful and empowering approach to healthcare and prevention,” concluded the investigators.


Parletta N, Zarnowiecki D, Cho J, et al. A Mediterranean-style dietary intervention supplemented with fish oil improves diet quality and mental health in people with depression: A randomized controlled trial (HELFIMED). Nutr Neurosci. 2017 Dec 7:1-14. 

Tags: Diet, Depression

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