In the SMILES study, 67 patients with moderate to severe depression were divided into two 12-week parallel group trials. The treatment group received seven 60-minute sessions of dietary counselling. The parallel control group received a matching social support protocol. The vast majority of participants were also receiving either psychotherapy, medications or both.
Participants in the treatment group were encouraged to adopt a modified Mediterranean diet. They increased what I like to call “Brain Food”; whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes, lean meats and seafood. They were also encouraged to decrease foods associated with the Standard American Diet – empty carbohydrates, refined starches, and highly processed foods.
In the treatment group, 32% of patients achieved remission, compared with 8% in the control group.
And that’s not the only good news. People got wealthier! Participants in the treatment group saved $104 per month eating the brain healthy Mediterranean diet. Beats depression and saves you money. Chalk up a win for brainfood.
I recorded a vlog with Medscape Psychiatry if you want to learn more about the SMILES study. You can read or listen here.
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