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Why Some Foods Make You Depressed | Modimed diet and SMILES trail

You can beat depression by changing the way you eat. That's what a new study found that investigated different groups of people with depression who were asked to eat a different set of foods. Video Script: For those suffering from depression or feeling as if you are becoming depressed, your diet can be a large contributing factor in your mind's fight for happiness. As indicated from a recent study done by researchers at Deakin University in Australia.

The study consisted of 67 men and women with moderate to severe depression who had relatively unhealthy diets, grading each participant's mood on a scale of 0-60. Researchers put half of the recruited subjects on a modified Mediterranean diet; better known as, a "Modimed" diet.

After a 12-week study, researchers saw an average of an 11 point improvement with 32 percent lowering their mood scores so low, they no longer met the criteria for depression! At this point, you may be questioning how little they had to eat to feel better. After all, it is a diet. The wonderful news, calories were not restricted! The participants ate to their hearts' content. So what did they eat to get happier and what on earth is a Modimed diet?

The Modimed diet encourages foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean red meat, fish, eggs and olive oil. Subjects had a maximum two sugar-sweetened beverage per week and maximum 2 alcoholic drinks per day. Although that sounds brutally difficult to follow - especially that last part - surprisingly, the diet cost 19% less than standard unhealthy diets, and was much easier to stick to with 31 out of 33 participants making it all the way to the end of the study! What is so special about the Modimed diet? It incorporates more healthy ingredients such as olive oil and nuts while removing harmful and unhealthy foods such as processed meats and refined carbohydrates.

The diet is specific enough to limit sweets and processed foods while being broad enough to encompass all food groups. The incorporation of little processed oils that are high in essential omega fatty acids also aids in improving mood, especially because omega fatty acids cannot be produced by our bodies; the only source is food. It may be difficult to believe that a simple diet change can completely alter your mood and improve your depression.

But is it really that far off? Considering the many processed and GM foods, and refined sugars in nearly all products we as individuals consume on a daily basis, it should come to no surprise how our diets have altered our nutrition intake for our brains. There is still ongoing research for finding the best diet and types of foods we should be eating to improve depression symptoms.

But for now, this shows promising results and a great way to focus on your health while paying attention to your diet.

The ModiMedDiet focusses on positive change. To investigate its effects further, a SMILES trial was conducted, within which each individual received sessions with a dietitian.


In Australia, Accredited Practicing Dietitians (APDs) are qualified professionals with extensive knowledge of health and nutrition and specific training to help people be able to change their dietary behaviours.

Participants were also able to discuss aspects such as:

  • Food-specific skills and knowledge

  • Time-management

  • Food label reading

  • Recipe modification

  • Long-term dietary goals.

Modimed Food pryamid


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