High consumption of vegetables and olive oil and a moderate consumption of protein help in the treatment of depression, new research has discovered.
“Our new analysis looked at comparative costs in things like counselling, healthcare visits (or general practitioner visits), medicine, food, travel, and lost productivity to evaluate whether a dietary intervention like this provides value for money,” said Mary Lou Chatterton, a research fellow from Deakin University.
“The lower cost was partially due to fewer health professional visits, such as to doctors, dentists, and psychologists.
“The participants on the dietary intervention also reported less time lost from unpaid activities such as housework and childcare.”
The university’s findings build on what it said is ground-breaking evidence that it published in 2017 to show how diet could be used to treat depression.
The move involved patients switching to a Mediterranean diet-like regime of increasing the consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, fish, lean red meats, olive oil and nuts, while reducing their consumption of unhealthy foods such as sweets, refined cereals, fried food, fast-food, processed meats and sugary drinks.
“We already know that dietary counselling is cost-effective when it comes to the management of obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” Chatterton said.
“But these results indicate that providing support for people with depression to improve their diet may be a cost-effective strategy to reduce mental health symptoms too.
“There is a strong relationship between depression and the development of other chronic health conditions like these.
“So a dietary improvement strategy could have multiple benefits that translate to wider health and well being.”