We all know the merits of a Mediterranean diet, but a new study from Spain proves its not all just about what you eat.
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When it comes to battling depression and living a happier, healthier life overall, it turns out we can learn a lot from our friends across the pond.
Also Read: Top Mediterranean Diet Foods
The study asked 11,800 people in Spain about their diet and exercise habits, as well as how much time they spent out socializing with friends. Researchers deemed all three of these elements together — a Mediterranean diet, regular exercise, and regular socializing — as pillars of a “Mediterranean lifestyle.”
Scientists then tracked how many of the participants were diagnosed with depression in the next eight years that followed the survey.
The study found that people who most closely followed a traditional Mediterranean diet full of fruits and vegetables, but who also exercised and socialized regularly, were far less less likely to suffer from depression — by nearly 50 per cent.
There have been plenty of studies linking the Mediterranean diet to lower risks of depression, according to lead study author Almudena Sánchez-Villegas, but this study wanted to see if there was a link between the overall Mediterranean lifestyle and depression, rather than just diet alone.
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Exercise, of course, has likewise been closely linked to reducing the risk of depression. Sánchez-Villegas hypothesis that regular physical activity protects against inflammation, and also stimulates those feel-good chemicals called endorphins.
The findings are certainly interesting, but they come as no surprise. Eating well, exercise and an active social life are three rather major and obvious components to one’s overall wellbeing.
Let’s file this one under, “duh.”