A Possible Antidepressive Effect of Dietary Interventions: Emergent Findings and Research Challenges
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PURPOSE: Despite recent advancements in the treatment of depression, the prevalence of affected individuals continues to grow. The development of new strategies has been required and emerging evidence has linked a possible antidepressant effect with dietary interventions. In this review, we discuss recent findings about the possible antidepressant effect of dietary interventions with an emphasis on the results of randomized controlled trials. RECENT FINDINGS: A high consumption of refined sugars and saturated fat and a low dietary content of fruits and vegetables has been associated with the development of depression. There is evidence supporting a small to moderate beneficial effect of a Mediterranean-type diet in depression. In addition, new dietary protocols are being studied for their use as possible interventions, such as the ketogenic diet, Nordic diet, and plant-based diet. SUMMARY: Lifestyle interventions surrounding diet and nutrition are a relatively affordable way to enhance response to treatment and to be employed as an adjunct in mental health care. Most studies, however, are limited by the difficulty in controlling for the placebo effect. Mediterranean-style diets seem to be the most promising as an adjunctive treatment for mood disorders. Larger randomized controlled trials that could assess predictors of response to dietary interventions are needed to establish a clear positive effect of diet and guide clinical care and nutritional recommendations concerning mental health care.