Diet and treatment & prevention of mental disorders

Research has established that a good quality diet is important to risk reduction and prevention of mental disorders.

The SMILEs study (Supporting the Modification of lifestyle in Lowered Emotional States) conducted by the Food & Mood Centre at Deakin University randomly assigned participants who met the criteria (experiencing current depression, did not have any comorbid physical/mental conditions that would inhibit their participation or make it difficult to assess their mood, and that they were able to follow a prescribed diet) into one of two groups.  The control group was called ‘the befriending group’.  Participants in this group met with a member of the research team and discussed subjects they enjoyed but were not emotional or related to their mental health.  The second group received a dietary intervention.  This was based on a Modified Mediterranean Diet.

The results of the study, published in the international journal BMC Medicine, showed that participants in the dietary intervention group had a much greater reduction in their depressive symptoms over the three-month period, compared to those in the social support group.  Those who improved their diet the most experienced the greatest benefit to their depression.

Read more about this study here.

Updated 11 January 2024