People who eat vegetables, fruits and whole grains to reduce hypertension may also have lower rates of depression over time, a new study suggests.
The study found that people whose diets adhered more closely to the “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension” (DASH) diet were less likely to develop depression than people who did not closely follow the diet.
Dash diets emphasise on receiving a proper amount of food and nutrients like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains along with low or fat-free dairy, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts.
“Depression is common in older adults and more frequent in people with memory problems, vascular risk factors such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, or people who have had a stroke,” said co-author Laurel Cherian, from the Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago.
For the study, to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 70th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, 964 participants with an average age of 81 were evaluated yearly for an average of six-and-a-half years.
They were monitored for symptoms of depression such as being bothered by things that usually didn’t affect them and feeling hopeless about the future.
They also filled out questionnaires about how often they ate various foods.
Participants were divided into three groups based on how closely they adhered to the diets.
People in the two groups that followed the DASH diet most closely were less likely to develop depression than people in the group that did not follow the diet closely.
The odds of becoming depressed over time was 11 per cent lower among the top group of DASH adherers versus the lowest group. On the other hand, the more closely people followed a western diet — a diet that is high in saturated fats and red meats and low in fruits and vegetables — the more likely they were to develop depression.